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State-sponsored savings program replaces employer retirement

Friday, September 14, 2018

A savings program set up by the state treasury is popular with residents even those who aren’t taking advantage of it.

OregonSaves was developed in July 2017 for workers whose employers don't offer retirement plans.

More than 80 percent of Oregonians say they support the program, according to research sponsored by AARP Oregon.

The study, conducted by DHM Research in Portland, also shows bipartisan support for the program.

“I’m a pollster. I'm asking Oregonians questions about public policy matters all the time,” said John Horvick, vice president of DHM. “Such a high support across party lines is unusual today.”

Oregonians are anxious about retirement security, said Joyce De Monnin, communications director at AARP Oregon.

“Too many workers in our state face financial insecurity because of a lack of retirement savings, and a culture of savings,” De Monnin noted. “The retirement savings landscape has shifted in the last few decades with more responsibility for savings put on the shoulders of employees.”

The new survey shows about two-thirds of respondents feel anxiety about retirement funds.

“The beauty of OregonSaves is that it’s an easy way to save with automatic enrollment and low-fee options,” she said.

More than $6 million has been saved with 1,135 registered employers and 38,928 enrolled employees, according to Oregon State Treasury.

While OregonSaves is making a dent in retirement insecurity in Oregon, many employees still lack access to retirement plans. About 20 percent of respondents said a program isn’t available through their workplace.

The state is requiring employers who don’t offer a plan to facilitate OregonSaves through a “rolling” enrollment schedule starting with the largest employers first.

More than three-quarters of those taking the survey said they’re concerned that some Oregonians haven’t saved for retirement and could become reliant on public assistance programs.

DHM polled about 1,000 working-age Oregonians this summer, following up on a similar survey from last year. For more information on OregonSaves, go to www.OregonSaves.com.


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