Town employees saving for retirement
David McCauley has served two years as mayor of Buckhannon, the homey county seat of Upshur. For 30 years before that, he provided his services as an attorney to the town, qualifying for a state government pension in the process.
“I’m thankful for the state retirement check I get each month,” said McCauley, who is also a professor at West Virginia Wesleyan. “But 10, 20, 30 years from now, if I live that long, that amount isn’t going to increase. I’m in favor of anything that gives you the opportunity to draw what you otherwise might not.”
Enter West Virginia Retirement Plus, the state’s officially sanctioned 457 savings plan for public employees -- local, county and state. The Treasurer and West Virginia Retirement Plus officials recently stopped at Buckhannon City Hall, where 13 municipal employees enrolled in West Virginia Retirement Plus.
The program, with $232.1 million of assets and 17,561 accounts, provides that extra boost, as assets grow tax deferred. Treasurer Perdue’s office took custody of the plan in 2006 and has multiplied both assets and accounts since. The most recent numbers are as of March 31.
“Anything that enhances our employees in their post-work life of being able to live more comfortably, we certainly endorse that,” McCauley said. “You can never have enough in retirement.”
Of 80 full-time city employees, Buckhannon now has 49 enrolled in West Virginia Retirement Plus. In addition to the 13 new enrollees, two city employees increased their contributions during the day-long seminar, tailored to each city department.
Amberle Jenkins is the city’s finance director. She says this year’s federal tax reform bill came in handy for both those already enrolled or deciding whether to enroll in West Virginia Retirement Plus.
“They just figured out how much more they would get in their checks and dedicated that directly to their retirement accounts,” she said. “They weren’t accustomed to having it anyway.
“From what I can tell our employees are happy with it as a supplemental plan. We don’t have anyone dropping out of it unless they leave.”
Jenkins gives the plan high marks for its ease of use. She said the city used to attempt to buy federal savings bonds as a retirement supplement but dealing with the feferal government entailed a lot of red tape.
She said it is easy and automated to send an enrollee’s pay to West Virginia Retirement Plus, where it is invested in large mutual funds of the employee’s choosing. “It only takes me five minutes to process that report.”
For more information about West Virginia Retirement Plus, go to www.wv457.com or call 1-800-422-7498.