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State-Sponsored OregonSaves Program Gives Employers a Retirement Plan Option to Offer

With the final rolling deadline passed for existing businesses to enroll in the state-sponsored program, next up for OregonSaves is to see if the program can turn the tide on the retirement savings crisis in the state.
A woman goes over the latest contribution limits on her phone.

In 2019, almost two years launching OregonSaves — the nation’s first automatic-enrollment, payroll-deduction IRA program for private-sector workers — one of the frequently asked questions to the program’s website had to do with the “average savings for those nearing retirement.” It was $12,0001.

At that time, about one million workers in Oregon still lacked access to a retirement savings plan at work.  

Since that time, the rolling deadlines for all business sizes to register for OregonSaves have passed, the latest of the six on Jan. 15, 2021 for those with four (4) or fewer employees. Businesses with 100 or more employees, as well as those with 50 to 99, 20 to 49, 10 to 19 and 5 to 9 had been registering since 2018.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, OregonSaves had 47,000 workers enrolled with 23,000 contributing. By the end of 2020, there were 70,000 worker accounts established and more than 4,200 participating employers.

Self-employed individuals also can take advantage of OregonSaves and sign up  through the program’s website.

What is OregonSaves?

OregonSaves is a retirement savings program sponsored by the state of Oregon, facilitated by employers and funded by employee investments via payroll deductions. OregonSaves is a Roth IRA retirement account with automated enrollment. Employee participation is completely voluntary, and money in workers' accounts is 100 percent fully vested and portable if they change jobs.

Standard elections:

  • 5 percent of employees' gross pay is contributed to a Roth IRA.
  • Automatic annual 1 percent increase until savings rate reaches 10 percent.
  • Employees' first $1,000 will be invested in the OregonSaves Capital Preservation Fund.
  • Savings over $1,000 will be invested in an OregonSaves Target Retirement Fund based on an employee's age.

Employees have a choice of investment options, and employees may change their automatic contribution rate or opt out of the program at any time. Federal IRA limits apply.

Why are Oregon and other states sponsoring their own retirement plans?

America faces a retirement crisis, as many people find themselves financially unprepared for their non-working retirement years. In response, states such as Oregon have begun establishing their own retirement plans.

Did you know that when taking in to account all working individuals, the average American has no money saved for retirement? Even those who have retirement accounts have only managed to save about $40,000. When accounting for an individual’s net worth, 77 percent of Americans still fall short of meeting what would be considered conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67.12. Financial experts recommend that by age 67, a worker should have between five and eight times their annual salary saved for retirement.

Do businesses have to use the state-sponsored program?

No. Registering for the OregonSaves program is one way to fulfill the requirement that every employed Oregonian have access to a retirement plan. Businesses can also establish their own employee retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA, to satisfy this requirement. You should consider all available options before making a decision.

However, a report by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) found that Americans find state-based retirement plans appealing3.

  • 90% liked that you can take the plan from job to job
  • 86% liked that the plan would provide higher returns than other safe investments in the market

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed would participate in a state-based retirement plan, with 36% very likely to participate and 38% somewhat likely.

What are the differences among state-run IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and 401(k) plans?

A state-run sponsored IRA is one way to satisfy requirements and help employees save for retirement. However, it's in businesses’ best interest to compare it with other financial options and decide which option best fits their needs and those of their employees.

The chart below shows key characteristics of a state-run IRA compared to a SIMPLE IRA and 401(k) plan, both of which Paychex offers. The biggest differences are the option for a company to match a portion of savers' contributions, and the maximum amount employees can contribute.

 

State IRA

SIMPLE IRA
(Offered by Paychex)

401(k)
(Offered by Paychex)

Contribution Max

$6,000

$13,500

$19,500

Company Match Option

No

Yes, mandatory

Yes, at employer’s discretion

Tax Credits for Opening New Plan

No

Up to $5,000 per year, for the first 3 years

Up to $5,000 per year for the first 3 years

Employer Tasks

The employer processes payroll contributions, updates contribution rates, adds newly eligible employees, etc. 

Paychex is the plan administrator

Paychex is the plan administrator

How can my business establish its own employee retirement plan?

Retirement plans don't have to be expensive or difficult to manage. As the nation’s No. 1 provider of 401(k) recordkeeping services with more than 90,000 plans, according to PLANSPONSOR Magazine, Paychex is well-positioned to help Oregon employers meet their retirement needs, as well as meet requirements set forth by the state. Paychex offers many plan options, exceptional customer service, and minimized administrative tasks by fully integrating payroll with our recordkeeping platform.

 

1 OregonSaves, 2019, OregonSaves Frequently Asked Questions

2Retirement in America: Out of Reach for Working Americans?” National Institute on Retirement Security, 2018

3Retirement Insecurity 2019, National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS)

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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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