New fact-finding panel will explore ways to help Oregonians increase retirement savings
Formed by bipartisan legislation, Interim Task Force on Retirement Savings convenes Tuesday
SALEM – The demographics are daunting.
Oregon’s senior population is projected to double in the next two decades. Yet at the same time, many people have little or no retirement savings – and an estimated half of workers do not even have a retirement savings option through their employer.
The low rate of savings for retirees is expected to put increasing pressure on already strained government and charitable safety net programs.
Against that urgent backdrop, a new fact-finding panel will convene Tuesday to explore options to help Oregonians become more financially secure. The Joint Interim Task Force on Retirement Savings was created by the passage of bipartisan House Bill 3436 by the 2013 Legislative Assembly.
The diverse committee, which will be chaired by State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, will meet at 1 p.m Tuesday at the State Capitol, Hearing Room D. Based on conversations through this year, the panel could submit recommendations for the 2015 Legislature. The Treasurer also will host town hall meetings in communities across the state to glean more input about retirement security.
“The lack of adequate savings is a bipartisan concern that threatens the quality of life for families, border- to-border, and it will put a heavy strain on vital government services,” Treasurer Wheeler said. “We are looking forward to a robust conversation with Oregon families and businesses.”
A key goal for the Treasurer: Expand the availability of pooled and professionally managed funds for more Oregonians.
The agenda includes a discussion about the current situation in Oregon, the kinds of data that ought to be reviewed in order to facilitate recommendations, and public testimony.
The task force appointees include former Oregon State Treasurer Jim Hill, who led a study on retirement preparedness in the 1990s, and State Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, an executive at Oregon Iron
Works. Other panelists include representatives of the financial sector, small businesses, community nonprofits, and labor unions.
“We look forward to collaborating with the task force members to better understand the root causes of inadequate retirement savings,” said Harley Spring, a task force member and the Vice President of Retirement Plans Services at The Standard in Portland. “Tailoring task force recommendations in a balanced manner based on empirical evidence would put Oregon in an enviable position amongst the many states and federal government currently looking at this issue.”
According to a 2013 survey by AARP Oregon, one in six Oregonians between the ages of 45 and 64 has less than $5,000 in retirement savings.
“I meet Oregonians every week from all walks of life who are facing their retirement years with fear and anxiety,” said Joyce DeMonnin, outreach director for AARP Oregon. “Since nearly half of Oregon employer’s don’t offer retirement savings at work, Oregon families are facing an unprecedented retirement deficit. We need to work together now to help individuals and families strengthen their financial futures.”
The meeting is open to the public and also can be viewed online through the Legislative Media website, at http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/citizen_engagement/Pages/Legislative-Video.aspx
The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets and saves Oregonians money through its investment, banking, and debt management functions. State investment policies are overseen by the Oregon Investment Council. The State Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money, invest for college and make smart financial choices.