Facts About CalSavers
California has established an auto-IRA program that requires employers without a retirement plan to automatically enroll their employees, who are allowed to opt out. California was the first state to study the feasibility of an auto-IRA, and the program was adopted in 2016. The program went live in January 2019.
To date, California has 37,407 actively participating employers and 479,370 worker accounts (see Table 1). It is the largest auto-IRA program in the country.
As of December 2023, 37,407 employers in California were submitting payroll deductions to CalSavers in the last 90 days (see Table 2). In August 2022, California expanded its eligibility requirements to include firms with 1-4 employees. Among firms that have registered, not all have completed setting up their payroll systems. Thus, the number of firms will keep growing as the program continues to roll out and mature.
Employers subject to the mandate that do not comply must pay an annual fine of $250 per eligible employee if noncompliance extends 90 days or more after the notice. If found to be in noncompliance 180 days or more after the notice, an additional penalty of $500 per eligible employee is incurred.
To date, the number of employees with assets in CalSavers has reached 479,370. Given the early stage of the program, average account balances are modest. Contributions made in the first 30 days are invested in a money market fund; after that point, the account balance and future contributions are defaulted into a target-date fund. Only 37 percent of eligible workers have chosen to opt out of participating (see Table 3). CalSavers is also open to the self-employed and workers not covered under the mandate.
The program, which is intended to eventually become financially self-sufficient, had assets under management of $750 million by the end of December 2023 (see Table 4). To pay for its operating costs, CalSavers charges a fixed annual fee of $18 per year plus an annualized asset-based fee of 0.33 percent to 0.49 percent (based on the investment option).