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Senator Wyden And Treasurer Wheeler Take Input On Retirement Savings

Karen Richards

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler held a roundtable in Eugene today to discuss retirement savings issues.

At the meeting on LCC's downtown campus, Senator Wyden and Treasurer Wheeler heard from a couple dozen students, retirees, and professionals. They were looking for ideas to help shape an Oregon plan for retirement security.

Wyden said the days of working for the same company for decades, and retiring with a healthy pension, have gone the way of black and white TV:

Wyden: "And so we very much need a new federal and state partnership in this effort, and I think we're so fortunate to have Treasurer Wheeler who's doing good work at the state level but also is a leader among the treasurers."

As the chair of the Senate Finance committee, Wyden hopes to work on federal policy for retirement savings. He and Treasurer Wheeler are developing an automatic IRA contribution program for Oregonians who are not covered by an employer's plan. Senator Wyden:

Wyden: "The principal that Oregon is talking about, of in effect saying to folks, people are going to be enrolled, but given the freedom to opt out."

Only half of Oregon workers have access to a retirement plan. As the population ages, Treasurer Wheeler worries too many people will retire into poverty. He says the consequences to taxpayers could be enormous if too many are tapping into safety net programs.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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