DRSN e08-009, America and Washington Saves

DRS Notice

  • Notice No.: 08-009
  • Date: February 26, 2008
  • Applies to: School District and Educational Service District, Elected Official Employers
  • Subject: America and Washington Saves

Governor Gregoire, a strong savings advocate, has declared this week Washington Saves Week. Her action supports and complements America Saves Week, a national effort involving over 1,000 major governmental and financial institutions throughout the country to help boost the national savings rate.

Many people find saving money is challenging, either in good economic times or bad. According to the Consumer Federation of America, “A national survey conducted earlier this month found that about half of all U.S. households report adequate savings progress. Only 53 percent say that they save at least 5% of their income, while only 57 percent of those not retired say they are saving enough for a retirement with a ‘desirable standard of living’.”

The Department of Retirement Systems is joining with Governor Gregoire, the Department of Financial Institutions, the Washington State Society of CPAs, and hundreds of organizations across the country to bring your employees easy-to-use information on building savings. During Washington Saves Week, our Web sites will feature several links to helpful tools, including the best strategies for saving money, assessing your progress and how to determine your “retirement readiness rating.”

One of the best tools for saving money is the state’s Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). The minimum salary deferral is $30 a month (pre-tax) and that amount can be changed any time the employee chooses. Your employees can set up an account quickly and easily by calling DRS at (800) 423-1524 or (360) 664-7839.

Please share the message of saving with your employees. Attached below is a message that you can tailor for your employees and send the head of your organization or their designee. This message has already been shared with large and small cabinet agency directors. Thank you for your ongoing support and should you have questions, please reply to this message or call Employer Support Services at 360-664-7200 (press option 2) or l-800-547-6657 (press option 6 then option 2).

Health and financial security are two aspects of our life that are important to each of us and our families. Achieving good health and financial security becomes easier with programs, information, and tools available in our workplace. Governor Gregoire cares about you and your family, and has declared February 24 - through March 2, 2008 Washington Saves Week to assist us in creating savings goals for our future.

Washington’s economy has been strong for several years, making this a great time to evaluate your personal savings plan and either start, increase, or maintain savings you can put aside for your future.

Washington Saves Week is part a nationwide initiative America Saves Week. This effort was started in response to statistics that show our national personal savings rate, once strong, is weakening. It’s time to turn that around. The Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Retirement Systems are joining with Governor Gregoire and hundreds of organizations across the country to bring you easy-to-use information on creating a savings plan that works for you.

There are many resources available to help you, but one of the best is the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) available to all state employees. This is a low-cost tax-deferred savings plan, which means that the amount you actually save is more than the change in your net pay because you don’t pay the taxes until you withdraw, generally during retirement. People who join are the biggest fans of the plan. Take a moment and look into it yourself, either at www.drs.wa.gov , or by calling DRS (800) 423-1524 option #3 or (360) 664-7839. It’s easy, fun, rewarding to watch your balance grow with each paycheck, and one of the best calls you can make for your financial security.

Here are a few not-for-profit organizations and their websites that can make it easy for you to get excited about saving for you and your family’s future this week and throughout the year:

Please join me in participating in Washington and America Saves Week. Take a look at the resources listed above, open a new account, increase your savings, or be proud of your past efforts. It is time well spent, money well saved, never too late to start, and a great way to care for yourself and your family.


If you have any questions regarding this DRS Notice, please contact Employer Support Services at (360) 664-7200, option 2, or 1-800-547-6657, option 6, option 2; or email us.

George Pickett
Assistant Director of Administrative Services