2019 RDRC Meeting: Auto-enrollment Retirement Plans for the People: Choices and Outcomes in OregonSaves

Published: 2019


Insuring retirement security is an important challenge for our aging society, and policymakers are seeking ways to help individuals save more for retirement. The state of Oregon recently launched an auto-enrollment retirement savings program for private sector workers who lack access to workplace retirement plans; these are commonly lower-paid employees working at smaller firms that did not previously offer retirement plans. Our paper investigates early results from OregonSaves using data through April 2019. We show that OregonSaves serves firms across many industries including food services, health care, retail trade, and agricultural industries. Participants contributed an average of $107 per month, or about 5% of their pay. As of April 2019, around 70% of all employees provided access to OregonSaves have ever participated. Around 60% of all active employees are participating in OregonSaves in April 2019. Employees in larger firms and firms having lower turnover rates were more likely to participate. We also show that OregonSaves expanded access to workplace retirement accounts for individuals in small to mid-sized firms (average firm size 36 employees) earning an average monthly pay of $2,100, and in firms with monthly turnover rates averaging 2.6%.

Key Findings