OPERS recognizes retirement security week

Event is a great reminder to review your retirement savings plan

By Kristen Dohrmann, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Oct. 17, 2019 — When you’re thinking about your retirement savings, consider all your potential sources of retirement income. Your OPERS benefit shouldn’t be your only one. You’ll need more. Not sure how much you’ll need? Our Bridging the Gap to Retirement webinar and online calculator can help you assess your current finances and estimate your retirement income so you can determine the “gap” between what you’ll have in retirement and what you’ll need.

The time is right to review your options, as next week we recognize National Retirement Security Week. Sponsored by the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, it encourages everyone to save on their own for retirement.

To start closing the retirement gap today, you need to start saving. One of the easiest ways to build your retirement savings is though Ohio Deferred Compensation. This supplemental 457(b) plan is available to all Ohio public employees. Your savings are deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax, and invested in a LifePath Portfolio, or you can choose from several investment options offered by Ohio DC.

One of the benefits Ohio DC offers is the SMarT Plan. Enrolling in the SMarT Plan means your deferrals will automatically increase each year (by any amount you choose) and provide even greater savings.

If you’re new to an OPERS-covered job and have retirement plans from your previous employment, you can roll those plans into your Ohio DC account to take advantage of their competitive fees.

Even if you’re close to retiring, it’s not too late to save with Ohio DC. You can still increase your savings by making catch-up contributions to your account. If you’re age 50 or over, you can contribute up to $6,000 more than the maximum IRS contribution limit annually.

There’s more. Ohio DC’s Retirement Planning Specialists can help you with retirement planning – free of charge. As an Ohio DC participant you have access to these specialists at their office in Columbus, at meetings across the state and over the phone.

If you haven’t enrolled in Ohio DC, don’t wait. And if you’re already participating, take some time to review your account to get the most out of your savings.


  • Many single men and women don’t have the option of saving money. Living expenses eat up their paychecks

    • Lindsay,

      Give us a call at 800-222-7377, and someone on our Member Services staff will help you.

      –Ohio PERS

  • Great advice also get out debt and listen to Dave Ramsey. Save save save stop with the stuffitis and new cars.

    On another note I’d like to know why Opers doesn’t offer health care plans that can only be used outside the USA. ?

  • So, I, like hundreds of others, retired in Dec. 2012 at the urging of OPERS, to preserve my COLA, even though I was not very close to Medicare age. Now, OPERS has made multiple attempts to take away the COLA, apparently “successfully.” Next you are going to take away some or all of my healthcare during the interim years. Just how do you expect all of us in this situation to establish any “retirement security” when you have gone back on every single thing you convinced us would be in place if we followed your advice and retired?

    • Sheryl,

      OPERS did not urge anyone to retire prior to the effective date of Senate Bill 343. In fact, OPERS counseled and urged members to work longer.

      Julie, OPERS

  • OPERS,
    Regarding the outrageous remarks made by Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments, with whom OPERS is heavily invested. Please see the letter below from the Michigan Chief Investment Officer; OPERS should take this same stance with Ken Fisher / Fisher Investments. OPERS Board of Trustees should be aware of this:

    Michigan Chief Investment Officer John Braeutigam’s full letter to board members, Oct. 10, 2019

    Board Members,

    This morning, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Investments (BOI) terminated Fisher Investments as their founder Ken Fisher made completely unacceptable comments to a conference group where he was a featured speaker. BOI became aware of this situation last night after reading an industry news article and, after leadership discussions this morning (and more verification), all were in unanimous agreement that prompt termination is the correct course of action. There is no excuse to not treat everyone with dignity and respect. We have high expectations of our managers (and staff), not just with regards to returns but also in how they exhibit integrity and respect to all individuals.

    Fisher Investments was one of our long-time active domestic equities (managed funds for approximately 15 years) managers and they were responsible for managing over $600 million of State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) funds. Over the years, their performance has been good (beating the S&P 1500) and in staff’s interactions we have not previously witnessed or been aware of any type of similar comments along the lines of the founder’s recent statements. In our opinion, this history does not out-weigh the inappropriateness of the comments made by the founder. The securities Fisher Investments managed are all held in the retirement systems’ name and in the retirement systems’ custodial bank (State Street). These funds, will now be managed internally and over time will be liquidated and moved to cash in order to pay retirement benefits.

    Sincerely, Jon M. Braeutigam

  • I don’t think anyone will be able to retire with confidence and Peace Of Mind is being destroyed for Pre-Medicare retirees who thought they had responsibly prepared for retirement ! Many retirees will have to find jobs to be able to afford decent health care if OPERS takes away our insurance ! DID OPERS NOT have good returns on investments in the last 5 years? Is this strictly a health care cost issue? Where are our legislators?

    • Heidi,

      Under the proposal, you will receive an allowance to purchase health insurance or use for other health care expenses. The allowance amount hasn’t been determined yet, but it will be based on your age and years of service at retirement.

      Julie, OPERS

  • Is it a pretty good assumption that OPERS will not offering healthcare for PRE-Medicare retirees in the future? But instead give a set amount of money to use towards purchasing private insurance? Did I read that is what the Board recommended in their October meeting? When are they thinking this would go into effect?

    • Cindy,

      The Board is discussing moving to a marketplace concept for pre-Medicare retirees as one option to preserve OPERS health care coverage. In that scenario, retirees not yet eligible for Medicare would be provided an allowance to purchase a health care plan on the open market. An allowance amount, based on the retiree’s age and years of service, would replace the plan currently offered by OPERS. The Board hasn’t voted yet, but the changes are estimated to begin in January 2022.

      Julie, OPERS

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