CHARLESTON – West Virginia Retirement Plus, the state’s officially sanctioned 457 plan, has now reached 15,000 total participants, 1,500 of which are local government employees.
Assets have now climbed to $160 million and more than 12,000 new enrollees have signed up since July of 2006.
“When we took custody of the plan in 2006, we had goals to market it aggressively so public employees could have a solid supplemental plan,” State Treasurer John Perdue said. “I have to give credit to my staff for traveling the state to talk to state employees, county commissions, municipalities, boards of education and other entities.”
A 457 plan is similar to a private sector 401-k in that the investor may lower taxable income while building a supplemental nest egg. Some smaller municipalities who cannot afford pension plans are using West Virginia Retirement Plus as the town’s chief plan. The main reason: the town can tailor contribution amounts to meet its budget.
Tax reasons are a prime incentive for a public employee to invest in West Virginia Retirement Plus. For instance, a $100 before-tax contribution on $2,000 gross pay would result in taxable pay of $1,900. Assuming taxes are $361, that leaves $1,539 in spendable pay versus $1,520 if one invested after taxes. The taxes-owed figures are derived from assuming a federal withholding rate of 15 percent and a state withholding rate of four percent.
Past years have seen the plan offer a four-year matching program for state of West Virginia employees. That effort proved successful at attracting new enrollees and future match programs have not been ruled out.
About 235 political subdivisions now give their employees the option of participating in West Virginia Retirement Plus. An overwhelming majority of counties make the plan available.
For more information or to enroll, go to www.wv457.com or call 1-800-422-7498.