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Six Years After OregonSaves Launch, Workers Have Saved More than $200 Million for Retirement

New populations of first-time savers continue to join the growing program

The Oregon Retirement Savings Board and State Treasurer Tobias Read today announced that OregonSaves, the state’s auto-enrollment retirement savings program, has reached a significant milestone $200 million saved for retirement. The occasion coincides with the rollout of the program to Oregon’s smallest businesses.

Launched in July 2017OregonSaves became the nation’s first state-based effort to address the retirement savings crisis by ensuring all private sector workers can save. Over time, the program expanded statewide in waves, starting with the largest employers, and culminating in this sixth (and final) group of employers; those with four or fewer employees. Oregon is the first state program to roll out to businesses of this size.

“Six years ago, Oregon made history,” said State Treasurer Tobias Read. “We started with the belief that everyone should have an easy way to save for their retirement at work. Every Oregonian now has that opportunity. OregonSaves is delivering, and it’s more than a visionary Oregon idea it has served as inspiration for other states with more than $800M saved nationally for a more secure future.”

The program, championed by Read during his service in the Oregon Legislature, gives working Oregonians the option to save their own money for retirement via payroll deductions, without requiring employers to create plans or pay fees. The program was designed for workers without access to a retirement plan like a 401(k) through their employer.

Early market research found that about half of Oregon’s workforce (one million workers) lacked access to a workplace-based retirement savings plan and would be eligible to participate in OregonSaves. And surveys by the AARP found that workers are 15 times more likely to save via payroll deductions.

Six years later, nearly 118,000 workers from more than 21,000 businesses statewide are saving with every paycheck in their own Individual Retirement Accounts. Approximately 75% of employees opt to stay in the program, saving an average of $171 per month.

OregonSaves was the first program of its kind in the U.S. and continues to lead a national movement. Now 13 states have followed Oregon with similar programs for helping uncovered workers.

Oregon continues to blaze a trail, including being the first state to welcome cannabis businesses, and opening its doors to the self-employed and gig economy workers with more than 2,100 workers electing to independently take part since 2018.

Continuing its efforts toward inclusivity for industries typically excluded from other programs and benefits, OregonSaves recently welcomed SEIU represented Personal Support Workers, as well as Homecare Workers and Personal Care Attendants to the program. These steps demonstrate the program’s continued commitment to retirement savings accessibility for every worker in Oregon.

OregonSaves is a simple way for Oregonians to save for retirement at work.