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Oregon's Retirement Program for Workers Marks First Year

Oregonians have collectively set aside more than $4.5 million in the first year of OregonSaves. (OTA Photos/Flickr)
Oregonians have collectively set aside more than $4.5 million in the first year of OregonSaves. (OTA Photos/Flickr)
July 16, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – A first-of-its-kind retirement savings program in Oregon is one year old and continues to gain steam.

OregonSaves is an alternative for workers whose employers don't offer a retirement savings option.

According to the State Treasury, combined savings in the first year topped $4.5 million and more than 1,000 people are being registered a week, with more than 30,000 signed up.

More than 1 million Oregonians are eligible. Michael Parker, executive director of Oregon Savings Network, says the program is helping individuals and will help the state as well.

"If you just fast forward even 10 years, how much of a positive impact it's going to have not only on people's lives individually for being able to have some nest egg, but then a positive impact on the state because those folks who would not have had retirement savings are going to have that and it's going to be less of a burden on state services," he states.

The program gives employees the chance to save part of their paycheck automatically and also bring those savings to other jobs if they want. People are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they have an option at work, according to AARP.

Because the program is novel, Parker says tweaks are continually being made with input from Oregonians.

Parker stresses the challenge right now is making sure employers know the program exists and providing them help setting it up.

"Making sure that they understand that it's something that they need to be doing but that they're not alone, that we do have that support for them," he states.

OregonSaves continues to phase in more employers. The next registration deadline is Dec. 15 for businesses with 20 to 49 employees.

States including California, Connecticut and Illinois are following Oregon's lead on creating a retirement savings program.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR