What benefits does the program offer and why was it implemented?

As Oregonians, we are not saving enough. Research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save if they have a savings option through work, but more than 1 million workers—more than half of the working population in Oregon—did not have a savings option at work prior to OregonSaves. The legislature created OregonSaves to improve people’s access and outcomes for retirement savings. OregonSaves makes it easier for employees to save for retirement. The program is designed to lower barriers wherever possible, such as using automatic enrollment and savings through payroll contributions. And eligible employees can always opt out if they don’t want to participate or want to save another way.

Does the program provide information and consumer protections to participants?

Yes, OregonSaves helps ensure that employees have more choices, more information, and easier access to retirement savings accounts. Consumer protections are included in the program and may be enforced by appropriate state agencies.

Can the State use money from this program to pay for other programs?

No. Employee contributions go directly to their own personal OregonSaves IRA account. Accounts are not accessible to the State for other purposes and are not tied to any other retirement plans offered by the State, including Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).

What was the legislation that created OregonSaves?

OregonSaves was created through House Bill 2960 of 2015, now codified at ORS 178.200 to 178.245.

Who is responsible for oversight of OregonSaves?

As required by the Enabling Legislation (ORS 178.200), the Oregon Retirement Savings Board was tasked with the establishment and oversight of a state-run retirement savings program that provides Oregonians with an opportunity to save through payroll deductions. The seven-member board is chaired by the Oregon State Treasurer and includes four members appointed by the Governor—a representative of employers, a representative with experience in investments, a representative of an association representing employees, and a member of the public who is retired; a member of the Oregon House of Representatives; and a member of the Oregon Senate.

The Board has general and fiduciary responsibility for the program. The Board meets quarterly to discuss legislative activities, review program policies and investments, and make program decisions. All of the meetings are open to the public.

Will services and materials be available in other languages?

Yes. The call center will offer assistance in English and Spanish and will have access to translation services for other languages. Certain materials may also be available in Spanish.

Why did my investments change?

While many of our investment options remain similar to what was previously available, the adjustments we did make to the program’s investment and fee structures were made for the benefit of both current and future generations of savers. For those that like the structure of the Capital Preservation Fund, we now offer a new OregonSaves Money Market Option that uses the same underlying investment option for those looking to preserve the value of their savings.

Savers have the ability to make changes to their investment choices at any time. Like most retirement programs, OregonSaves offers a range of funds to help our savers meet their future needs. How savers choose to invest will depend on their investment goals and risk tolerance.

Who decided to make changes to the program?

In conversations initiated by the previous OregonSaves service provider, the State of Oregon and Ascensus were not able to reach terms agreeable to both parties on proposed changes to the program structure. OregonSaves was designed to serve those most in need of building financial security and it is essential that the program structure serves that purpose for savers.

The State of Oregon embarked on their partnership with new program manager, Vestwell State Savings, LLC, dba Sumday Administration, to best serve the needs of Oregon businesses and savers, providing a more streamlined online experience and the ability to innovate in the future. Changes to the program and investment structure were kept to a minimum to provide as positive an experience as possible for our participants.

Was there notification of the change in program manager?

The state sent early notification to savers related to the change in program managers, followed by a series of communications from Sumday detailing specific transition activities (i.e. timeline, what to expect, and how to prepare). Notifications arrived via email, by default, and letters were sent to savers when contact information was limited. Participants will continue to receive regular communications related to post-transition activities that impact their accounts, including reminders to log in and update their savings elections as desired.

Could saving for retirement impact my benefits if I have a disability?

The short answer is, yes. Oregon workers may choose to invest in both a retirement savings account (like OregonSaves) and an Oregon ABLE savings account, but ABLE accounts were designed to have unique protections not found with other types of savings and investment accounts. The money saved in an ABLE account does not count against asset limits that could impact your eligibility for state or federal benefits. Money in retirement savings accounts does count against asset limits and may impact your eligibility for state or federal benefits.

It is important for ABLE savers to know that many Oregon workers may already be participating in the state’s auto-enrollment retirement savings program, OregonSaves. This workplace retirement program provides a simple, portable, low-cost way for workers to invest in their futures. Building toward a secure retirement is a worthy financial goal, but, as noted above, participating in a workplace retirement plan such as OregonSaves may impact access to services and benefits for ABLE savers.

As with other retirement accounts, money saved in an OregonSaves account does count against asset limits. If you are an Oregon ABLE saver and are concerned about asset limits, you have the option to move the money invested in your OregonSaves account to your Oregon ABLE account. An individual experiencing a disability is considered exempt and would not be liable to pay a 10% penalty tax on early distributions for any earnings that have accrued, however, we advise you to speak with a financial advisor to understand any potential tax consequences.