Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, the first state-sponsored private-sector retirement program in the country, now has $25 million in assets.
This is a major signpost for the 2-year-old program known as OregonSaves, Tigard, said Oregon state Treasurer Tobias Read. The program offers a retirement plan to employed people in Oregon who don't have workplace savings plans, including the self-employed, gig economy workers and, as of February, employees in the cannabis industry.
OregonSaves will continue to be rolled out through late 2020, but it has been accumulating assets at the rate of $2.5 million a month, ahead of expectations. The plan has three investment options: a capital preservation fund, an S&P 500 index offering and a suite of target-date funds, Mr. Read said in an interview.
Oregon is not the only government entity planning to offer this type of plan. Ten states, including Illinois and California, and two cities are following suit.
"We joke in the office that we are the minesweepers for Illinois and California," Mr. Read said. Among lessons those states have learned from Oregon's experience is to limit the number of rollouts: Oregon had six, both Illinois and California will have only three. Other lessons include the importance of communicating consistently with state employers and working with payroll providers to ease the process for employers and employees.
In the beginning, there was resistance to the program, but "the intensity of the opposition has reduced dramatically," Mr. Read said. Some skeptical business groups have become big boosters, he said. For example, in February, Amanda Dalton, a lobbyist for two employer groups, spoke in favor of a bill allowing Oregon to collaborate with other states, something she said she wouldn't have done two years ago, according to a transcript of her remarks before the state Legislature.
That legislation — giving OregonSaves the ability to let other states tap into its program, rather than build their own — was approved.