Get answers to frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for savers

Why does a program like this exist?

The retirement savings crisis is a serious problem here in Oregon and throughout the nation. In the absence of a nationwide retirement savings program, many states have begun considering state-based programs like OregonSaves. In Oregon, an estimated one million workers lacked access to a work-based retirement plan prior to OregonSaves. The retirement savings gap in America is estimated to be at least $28 trillion and OregonSaves provides Oregonians who fall in that gap with a clear means to save for their future.

The Oregon legislature created OregonSaves to improve people’s access and outcomes for retirement savings. The program is designed to lower barriers wherever possible, such as using automatic enrollment and savings through payroll contributions. Today, Oregon workers have saved more than $130 million towards their future. This means the state will have fewer people entering retirement in poverty and individuals will have more dignity and choice as they age.

Do employers have to facilitate this State program?

Yes, any business with employees in Oregon must facilitate the State’s program for its employees, unless it already offers a qualified, employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Is there a minimum age to participate in OregonSaves?

Yes, the minimum age to enroll in OregonSaves is 18.

Do I have to work for a certain amount of time in order to participate?

Employers have 60 days from the date of hire to enroll a new employee in OregonSaves or accept their election to opt out of the program. If you work for an employer for fewer than 60 days, you will not be enrolled until you reach that milestone.

What is the standard contribution rate?

The standard contribution is 5 percent of your gross income (your total earnings before taxes or deductions are taken out). You can choose to save more, or less, at 1 percent increments.

Will my contribution rate increase automatically?

Yes, your contribution rate increases automatically by 1 percent each year, until it reaches 10 percent, unless you opt out of automatic increases. The increase occurs each year on January 1 for those who made their first contribution on or before July 1 of the prior year.

Why are there automatic contribution increases?

OregonSaves aims to improve access to retirement savings accounts for workers and also improve outcomes when it comes time to retire. A savings rate of 5 percent is a good place to start, but employees may need to save more than 5 percent over time to achieve financial security in retirement. Research shows that people are far more likely to save more if their retirement plan includes automatic increases. That said, you are able to opt out of these increases or simply adjust your contribution rate at any time.

How are my contributions made?

Every pay period, your employer will deduct your contribution from your paycheck, based on your set savings rate, and will send it to your personal Roth IRA account. You can also make your own contributions through your bank account or by check using a paper mail-in form.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a specific type of retirement account that you fund with your after-tax earnings, a percentage of which are deposited into your Roth IRA. Your Roth IRA earns money (interest), and those earnings are automatically added to your contributions. When you retire and start taking money out of your Roth IRA (like you’re paying yourself), there are no taxes. In other words, all the interest that your account earns over the years is tax-free. And that’s a big deal. For more details on Roth IRAs you can visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

How is the OregonSaves program different from plans like a 401(k) or an IRA?

OregonSaves is designed to pull together some of the best features of popular employer plans and IRAs. We’re helping to lower barriers like complex administration and high costs that may prevent employers from offering a reliable retirement savings plan on their own to their employees. With OregonSaves, employers just have to facilitate the program–there are no costs and no fiduciary responsibility.