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Frequently Asked Questions

Employers

Savers

Employer Registration

Can employers start facilitating CalSavers at any time? When are employers required to take action?

Eligible employers can request to register at any time. There are deadlines for eligible employers to either begin to offer their own retirement plan or register for CalSavers. The deadlines vary depending on the size of the business:

  • For eligible employers with more than 100 employees, June 30, 2020.
  • For eligible employers with more than 50 employees, June 30, 2021.
  • For eligible employers with five or more employees, June 30, 2022.

Your eligibility and compliance deadlines are based on your average employees throughout the year. This number is calculated by averaging the number of employees you report to the Employment Development Department on your previous four DE9C filings.

Are there penalties for non-compliance?

Yes. Per Unemployment Code Section 1088.9(b), each eligible employer that, without good cause, fails to allow its eligible employees to participate in CalSavers, on or before 90 days after service of notice of its failure to comply, shall pay a penalty of $250 per eligible employee if noncompliance extends 90 days or more after the notice, and if found to be in noncompliance 180 days or more after the notice, an additional penalty of $500 per eligible employee.

Eligibility

As an employer, do I have to facilitate CalSavers? Who is an eligible employer?

State law requires employers to either offer their own retirement plan or register to facilitate CalSavers. If you have at least five California-based employees, at least one of whom is age eighteen, and don’t sponsor a qualified retirement plan, your business is required to register for CalSavers. 

Qualified retirement plans include:

  • Qualified pension plans;
  • 401(k) plans;
  • 403(a) plans;
  • 403(b) plans;
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans;
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plans;
  • Payroll deduction IRAs with automatic enrollment.

What about non-profit employers?

The requirements are the same for non-profit and for-profit employers.

Are all employees eligible for the program? When do employees become eligible?

Any employee of a participating employer who is at least age eighteen and has the status of an employee under California law (Unemployment Insurance Code Sections 621 et seq), receive an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 with California wages from such employer, or is a sole proprietor or partner in a partnership that is an eligible employer, then you are likely to be eligible to participate in the Program subject to California law and the federal rules governing Roth IRAs.

Please note that employee contributions to the Program would not begin until the first payroll following the 30 day notification period, so depending on the length of employment, short term employees may not be able to make contributions.

If we participate in a public youth employment program are the youth eligible to participate even if they are only working a short period of time?

Yes, if they are 18 or older.

Please note that employee contributions to the Program would not begin until the first payroll following the 30 day notification period, so depending on the length of employment, short term employees may not be able to make contributions.

If we already have a retirement plan, can we also facilitate CalSavers?

If you already offer a qualified retirement plan – good for you! Your business may not facilitate CalSavers with automatic enrollment. Non-mandated employers can choose to facilitate contributions from their employees who already have an account or have enrolled on their own.

Qualified retirement plans include:

  • Qualified pension plans;
  • 401(k) plans;
  • 403(a) plans;
  • 403(b) plans;
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans;
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plans;
  • Payroll deduction IRAs with automatic enrollment.

If you already offer a qualified retirement plan, we request that you inform us of your exemption on the employer portal.

If you have any employees or independent contractors that have set up a CalSavers account on their own and request payroll deductions to be remitted to their CalSavers account, your business may choose to facilitate those contributions just like any other deduction such as a parking payment or charitable contribution.

Are business owners eligible to participate?

Business owners that are also employees of their business are eligible to participate. Business owners that are not employees may enroll as an individual and make automatic contributions from their bank account.

Enrolling Employees

As an employer, what am I responsible for?

The employer is responsible for registering for the Program, providing basic employee roster information to the Program for eligible employees (name, date of birth, Social Security Number or ITIN, and contact information), and facilitating by payroll deduction the appropriate contributions each pay cycle. That’s it. Note that all information provided is received and maintained in a secure environment.

What does it mean that employees are automatically enrolled?

State law establishes CalSavers as, what is commonly referred to as, an “automatic enrollment program”. Eligible employees who do not choose to opt out will be enrolled automatically in the program.

Employees are enrolled with limited employer involvement. When an employer registers for CalSavers, the employer provides basic employee roster information to CalSavers. From beginning to end, this process generally takes about 30 minutes; many employers complete it in 15 minutes or less.

CalSavers uses this information to contact employees directly to make them aware of the Program and provide the opt-out or customization methods. If an eligible employee takes no action within 30 days, they will be automatically enrolled in the program under the default saving settings. If they wish to make changes to their account setting or opt out of participating in the program, they will be directed to contact CalSavers.

After registration and enrollment, employers are responsible to deduct and remit each saver’s contributions, each pay period. Employers are also responsible to add new eligible employees to the program within 30 days of their date of hire or date of eligibility. However, employers are to remain neutral about their employees’ participation and not encourage or discourage participation.

Sending Contributions

Can an employer make contributions on behalf of their employees?

No. Employers are not allowed to making make contributions on behalf of, or as a match to, employee contributions in this program. If an employer wishes to make contributions to a retirement plan on behalf of their employees, they should explore offering an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Who will be responsible for monitoring contribution limits?

It is the responsibility of program participants to monitor their own annual contribution limits across all Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) they maintain, including their CalSavers account. CalSavers intends to notify employees when their CalSavers account is close to reaching the federal annual contribution limits for an IRA and will instruct employers to stop contributions when employees’ contributions reach the limit. Note that limits apply across all IRAs maintained by an individual and CalSavers will not know of other IRAs that program participants maintain elsewhere.

It is also the responsibility of the program participant to determine if they are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, and to comply with any other IRA rules. However, CalSavers will provide program participants with educational materials to help participants understand the rules.

For 2019, the annual contribution limits are $6,000 for individuals under the age of 50. Individuals over the age of 50 will be able to contribute another $1,000 in “catch-up” contributions for a total of $7,000.

What if an employee is already contributing through another employer they currently work for?

Employees are invited to enroll in the CalSavers program for each employer that they work for. They may choose to opt out of contributions through an employer or contribute through multiple employers at the same time. Program participants must monitor their contribution levels across all of their IRAs to ensure they do not violate IRS limits.

Is there a waiting period?

No. Eligible employees who do not choose to opt out of the program are automatically enrolled 30 days after their date of hire or date of eligibility. Contributions may be made on behalf of an employee at any point after they are enrolled.

Is there a vesting period?

No, contributions belong 100% to the contributing program participant from day one.

Fees & Costs

As an employer, how much is this going to cost me?

There is no employer fee for participating in the program.

General

Who do I contact with CalSavers questions, concerns, or otherwise?

Employer questions should be directed to Client Services at 855-650-6916 or clientservices@calsavers.com.

Where can I find more detailed disclosure information about CalSavers?

Complete information about CalSavers can be found in the Program Disclosure Booklet.

Why is the state establishing CalSavers?

State law mandates that all California employers with five or more employees either offer a retirement savings vehicle or facilitate their employees’ access to CalSavers.

Do other states offer programs like CalSavers?

Many states are pursuing implementing state-sponsored IRA savings programs with California, Oregon and Illinois now actively accepting contributions.

How is CalSavers different from any other IRA that my employees can open?

CalSavers IRAs are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other IRA, but the CalSavers program is unique: the program will ensure nearly all working Californians have the ability to save through the convenience of regular payroll contributions; CalSavers will offer a small set of simple investment options, making it easy for savers to choose how they invest in their future; and savers that don’t choose their own account settings will participate according to default settings developed to encourage long-term meaningful savings. As the program grows, economies of scale from statewide participation in the Program will result in increasingly lower administrative fees. However, there are other alternatives for employees to save outside of CalSavers. For example, individuals may establish an IRA with one of the numerous mutual fund, investment, insurance, banking or other companies that offer IRAs.

Can my payroll service provider facilitate CalSavers for me?

You may add your payroll service provider as a delegate to help perform the employer facilitation duties on employers’ behalf.

Why should I facilitate CalSavers instead of setting up my own plan or joining a Multiple Employer Plan (MEP)?

CalSavers offers a simple, streamlined, no-fee way for employers to comply with the requirement established by Government Code Section 100032. However, there are benefits to setting up an employer sponsored retirement plan or joining an MEP which may include higher individual contribution limits and the opportunity to offer an employer matching contribution.

How is CalSavers different from an employer sponsored plan like a 401(k)?

Unlike an employer-sponsored plan, CalSavers is established, operated and maintained by the state. Employers have no discretion to determine the terms of the IRAs, the investments offered or program operations. Employers’ responsibilities are limited to registering for the Program, providing roster information for employees, and remitting employee contributions through payroll deductions. CalSavers has been designed to make it easier for employees to save by lowering the barriers that often keep people from saving. Enrollment is automatic, and contributions are made through payroll deductions. Accounts are also portable and can move with employees from one job to the next. Research sponsored by the AARP shows that people are 20 times more likely to save if they have an automatic enrollment retirement option at work, but many small employers don’t have the time or resources to offer their own plan. This program allows employers to facilitate something meaningful for their employees without any employer fees or fiduciary responsibility.

Who manages this program?

Administration of program participant accounts is handled through a contract with Ascensus College Savings Recordkeeping Services, LLC. Investments are managed by BNY Mellon Investment Adviser, Inc.  [(CalSavers Sustainable Balanced Fund (Environmental, Social, Governance)] and State Street Global Advisors (all other funds).

The CalSavers Program is overseen by the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, consisting of nine members, with the State Treasurer serving as chair.

In addition to Board oversight, the CalSavers program has a small staff of employees, and contracts with professional consultants to advise the Program.

How do I communicate to our employees about CalSavers?

Employers must remain neutral about their employees’ participation in CalSavers. You will be provided an email template at the time of your registration that you may share with your employees to inform them that CalSavers will reach out to them. Your employees will be contacted directly by the Program with all necessary information. If they have any questions, or wish to make any changes to their account, they should contact the Program directly (Client Services) at www.calsavers.com, at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com.

What should I do if an employee asks me for information or advice?

Do not provide advice. Simply direct them to the CalSavers website at www.calsavers.com or have them contact Client Services at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com for any information.

Do employers who facilitate CalSavers have any liability for the Program?

According to state law, employers shall not have any liability for an employee’s decision to participate in CalSavers, for their investment decisions, or for the performance of those investments.

Under California state statute (Section 100034) employers are not a fiduciary and have no responsibility or liability to Program participants for the choice of investment options or providers for the program. Employers have no civil liability, and no cause of action shall arise against an employer, for acting pursuant to the regulation prescribed by the Board defining the roles and responsibilities of employers that participate in CalSavers.

Employers are responsible for meeting their facilitation requirements as described in California law. Employers have no responsibility for establishing, maintaining or operating CalSavers. Specifically, Employers may not:

  • Determine the terms of the IRAs offer through CalSavers;
  • Select which investment options will be made available;
  • Make employer contributions to CalSavers (including matching contributions);
  • Advise employees regarding whether or not to enroll in CalSavers; or
  • Take any other action related to the administration or operation of CalSavers beyond registering eligible employees and remitting payroll deductions.

Will CalSavers materials be available in multiple languages?

The Program website is currently available in English, Spanish, and simple Chinese, with plans to expand to more languages. All program documentation will be available in English and Spanish. Certain materials will be available in other languages as well. In addition, customer service phone support is available in nearly all languages by calling Client Services at 855-650-6918.

Eligibility

Which employees are eligible to participate in CalSavers?

There are two ways you can join the program: through an employer, or on their own if they do not have access to a retirement savings plan through their employer.

Joining through an employer

If you are at least 18 years of age and employed by an eligible employer, you are eligible to participate in CalSavers. There are no minimum requirements based on hours worked or tenure with your employer.

Specifically, if you have the status of an employee under Unemployment Insurance Code Sections 621 et seq, receive an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 with California wages from a participating employer, or are a sole proprietor or partner in a partnership that is an eligible employer, then you are likely to be eligible to participate in the Program subject to California law and the federal rules governing Roth IRAs.

Enrolling on your own

To enroll as an individual (not through an employer), you must have earned income, be at least age eighteen, have a bank account from which you will make contributions, and provide some personal information, including full name, either a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, residential address, and date of birth.

Do I have to have a bank account to participate?

No, not if your employer is deducting the money directly out of your paycheck. If you choose to self-enroll in CalSavers separate from an employer arrangement, then you would need to link your bank account to your CalSavers account through the Saver website.

Do I need to have a Social Security Number to participate?

You must either have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Account Information

How do I make changes to my CalSavers account if I want to save more, or less, or choose different investments?

Simply log in to your account or contact Client Services at 855-650-6918. You will be able to change your contribution rate, investment choices, designate a beneficiary, and turn automatic escalation on or off.

What happens to my CalSavers account if I die?

When you enroll you are asked to designate a beneficiary (person/s who should get your money if you die). If you don’t designate a beneficiary, then the money will be passed along to your spouse. If you are not married at the time of your death, the money will go to your estate if you haven't designated a beneficiary. It is important to add a beneficiary to your account so you can make sure that the person you designate receives your money.

Enrollment and Opt-Out Processes Through an Employer

How does the enrollment process work?

When your employer facilitates their employees’ participation in the CalSavers program, they will provide the names, SSN/ITIN, and contact information of eligible employees to the CalSavers Program. The Program will then contact the employees directly using the email or mailing address provided by the employer and provide them an employee information packet, which details the program. When you receive the packet you can:

  • Do nothing, and then after 30 days you will be automatically enrolled in the program under the default contribution elections;
  • Customize your account online or by contacting Client Services, allowing you to select a different contribution amount and/or investment option; or
  • Decide not to participate and opt-out of the program by going online, by completing and returning the opt-out form in the employee information packet, or by contacting Client Services.

Do I have to participate?

No, the CalSavers Program is completely voluntary for employees. If you do not wish to participate, you can opt out at any time.

How do I opt out?

You can opt out online or by contacting Client Services at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com. You can also opt out by mail using the form found on our website. In order to opt out, you must provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number, date of birth, and ZIP Code.

What happens after I opt-out?

After you opt out, you will receive a notification confirming your decision.  At any time in the future, you can opt in to the Program.

California law requires that CalSavers conduct an Open Enrollment Period once every two years during which eligible employees that previously opted out of the Program shall be re-invited to participate under automatic enrollment and must opt out again if they still do not wish to participate in the Program.

If I opt out, how and when can I get back in?

You can opt back in at any time online, by phone, or by mailing in a form.

What if I do nothing?

If you do nothing after you receive the employee information packet by email or mail, a payroll-deduction of 5% of your gross pay will be contributed to your account each pay cycle and invested in CalSavers’ default investment fund, beginning with the first payroll cycle after 30 days from when the employee information packet detailing the program is sent to you. You can change this contribution amount, opt out, or make other changes to your account at any time.

Contributions

Is the contribution rate based on gross or net income?

Contribution rates are based on your gross income.

Can I contribute a flat dollar amount instead of a percentage of pay?

If you are enrolled through your employer you may only contribute as a percentage of your paycheck. The ability to contribute a flat dollar amount may be added in the future.

If you self-enroll into CalSavers independent of an employer and make contributions from your bank account, you may only contribute in flat dollar amounts.

Can I have my contribution automatically increase each year?

Yes, with the default settings in the Program, your contributions will start at 5% of your gross salary and increase 1% each year up to a maximum of 8%. You may opt-out of the automatic increase feature or customize it as you wish.

If I have automatic increases, when does the savings rate increase?

Automatic increases take effect with the first payroll of each new calendar year. The first automatic increase on your account will not take place until you’ve been in the Program for at least six months and are contributing less than 8% of your salary.

How are contributions made?

Your employer will withhold your contribution amounts from your paycheck and submit them directly to the Program to be placed into your account and allocated to your designated investments. There is nothing you will need to do. You can track your contributions and make changes to your contribution rate by signing into your account online or through the mobile app.

If you are participating as an individual outside of an employment context, your contributions will be made directly from your bank account to your CalSavers account according to your directions.

Can I make pre-tax contributions?

Currently, the CalSavers Program uses after-tax Roth IRAs. CalSavers is working on adding a Traditional IRA choice in late 2019 or early 2020. When that option is available, contributions to those accounts may be tax deductible. You may wish to consult a tax advisor for more information.

How will I know if I’m getting close to the contribution limits?

The Program will monitor your contribution amounts and notify you and your employer when you are approaching the standard annual IRS contribution limit. For 2019, the limit is $6,000 if you’re under 50 and $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. Note that this limit applies to all of your IRA accounts in aggregate. If you have IRA accounts in addition to your CalSavers account, you will need to ensure that in combination, you are not contributing more than federal limits allow.

Eligibility to participate in a Roth IRA is limited to certain annual income levels. To determine if you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, please visit the IRS website.

Distributions and Withdrawals

Can I borrow money from my CalSavers account?

No, you cannot borrow funds from IRA accounts, including your CalSavers IRA. If you would like access to your funds, you would simply request a distribution.

How can I take my money out when I retire?

You can choose to take it out in one lump sum or periodic withdrawals.

You also may withdraw money before you retire.

Do I have to pay taxes on my money when I take it out when I retire (over 59 ½ years old)?

You may wish to consult a tax advisor for more information, but the following generally apply:

You do not have to pay taxes on your contributions to a Roth IRA at any age, because you paid taxes on the money before you made the contribution. Before age 59 ½ you may have to pay taxes on the earnings on your contributions, but this varies depending on how long your account has been open, and the purpose for which you are withdrawing the funds.

If you contributed to a Traditional IRA, that money may be tax deductible. When you withdraw money from that account, it will be taxed at your tax rate at the time of withdrawal.

How do I take money out and how long will it take to get my money?

Distributions from your CalSavers Account may be requested online or by phone. Alternatively, you can mail us a completed distribution form. Once a completed request and any additional documentation required are received, the distribution will be processed. Please allow up to ten (10) Business Days for the proceeds to reach you, although the time may be a little longer if you request a distribution after an address change or change to your bank information.

Is there a fee or penalty or restrictions for taking money out?

The Program assesses no fees or penalties to withdraw money from your account.

The IRS may charge taxes and/or penalties on distributions from your account before you reach the age of 59 ½, although there are several exceptions that may apply (such as if you are disabled). You should consult the IRS or your tax advisor before making any withdrawals in this circumstance. You may review IRS guidelines at the IRS website.

You also may establish your own IRA outside of CalSavers and transfer your account to that IRA. Contact Client Services at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com for more information on how to transfer your account.

Investments

How do I find out more about my investment options?

Visit the Investment page on www.calsavers.com or contact Client Services at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com

Employment Related

What happens to my account if I change employers?

Your CalSavers account belongs to you and is not tied to your employer. If you change employers, your money remains in your account and you can contribute to it independent of an employer. If you work for a new employer that facilitates the CalSavers Program, you will receive enrollment notification and payroll deductions will begin at your new employer unless you choose to opt out.

What if my new employer doesn’t offer a private retirement plan or CalSavers?

State law mandates that all California employers with 5 or more employees facilitate employee contributions into the CalSavers Program if they don’t offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you believe your employer is in violation of this mandate, please contact us and we will research your inquiry.

What happens to my account if I move out of state?

Your CalSavers account belongs to you and stays with you even if you move out of state. You have a few options. You may continue to make deposits directly from your bank account if you would like, or you may simply leave your investments in your account and discontinue new contributions, or you may move your funds to another IRA. You will not be able to make payroll contributions through your employer if you are working outside of California.

Can I participate if I’m a gig worker, self-employed or independent contractor?

Yes, you can sign up for an account directly on your own and make contributions through your bank account.

I hold multiple jobs with eligible employers, can I participate with each one?

Yes, as long as each employer is a CalSavers participating employer. Unless you opt-out or make a different election, each employer will automatically deduct contributions from your pay and send them to your CalSavers account.

Even if you have multiple employers, all your contributions will be held in a single account in your name.

My employer doesn’t provide access to CalSavers. How can I participate?

You can sign up for an account on your own and make automatic payments from your bank account. After establishing your own account, you may ask your employer if they would be willing to make a payroll deduction for you, but the employer is not required to do this.

Before deciding to contribute to CalSavers, you should determine if your employer offers a retirement plan and consider whether you’d be better off contributing to your employer’s plan rather than CalSavers.

When can my employer register for the Program?

Eligible employers can request to register at any time. There are deadlines for eligible employers to either begin to offer their own retirement plan or register for CalSavers. The deadlines vary depending on the size of the business:

  • For eligible employers with more than 100 employees, June 30, 2020.
  • For eligible employers with more than 50 employees, June 30, 2021.
  • For eligible employers with five or more employees, June 30, 2022.

How will I know if my employer is sending my payroll contribution to my CalSavers account?

You can monitor your account online at any time. If you don’t see your contribution, call Client Services at 855-650-6918.

Can my employer make matching contributions to my account?

No. Employers are not allowed to make contributions into an employee’s account

What if my employer submits an invalid Social Security number or ITIN?

If an employee’s Social Security Number or ITIN appears to be invalid or cannot otherwise be confirmed then the employee will not be enrolled or have an account established. CalSavers will advise the employee’s employer to not make payroll deductions, but we will not give a reason. CalSavers will not share any information with anyone, including your employer or government agencies, about whether an SSN or ITIN is invalid or cannot be confirmed.

Fees and Costs

Do I have to pay any fees for my account?

The only administrative charge for CalSavers is in the form of an asset-based fee of approximately 0.825% to 0.95%, depending on your investment choice. This means you will pay between $0.83 and $0.95 per year for every $100 in your account. You will not get a bill. This cost is automatically taken out of your CalSavers balance on a regular basis to help pay for the administration of the program.

How often are the fees taken out?

Invested amounts are subject to annualized asset-based fees that are deducted at the investment option level evenly over the course of the year. The asset-based fees accrue daily and are factored into the price of an investment option. The fees cover the cost of the underlying investments and program administration.

Risk of Investment Funds

Is my money and rate of return guaranteed?

No. All investments have some form of risk. However, the program offers a range of investment types to help you build an investment option that balances different levels of risk for your individual circumstance.

General

Do you need my signature?

Most transactions can be completed through the CalSavers website or by contacting Client Services at 855-650-6918 or clientservices@calsavers.com. Certain transactions, like making someone other than your spouse (if married) the primary beneficiary to your account would require a signature. You will be given additional instructions when your signature is required to complete a transaction.

What are the default elections?

If you don’t specify your settings, your contributions will start at 5% of your gross pay and will automatically increase 1% each year for three years up to a maximum of 8%. The first $1,000 of your contribution will go into a Money Market Fund aimed at maximizing current income while seeking preservation of funds and liquidity. The Money Market Fund has less of a focus on growth than the other investment options in the Program. Your contributions after the first $1,000 will be put into a Target Retirement Date Fund which has a balance of stocks and bonds based on your age that automatically adjusts over time (i.e., when you’re young, your investments will be more aggressive and as you age, they will be more conservative). You may change these settings at any time. For more information on investments visit the Investment webpage on the CalSavers website.

What is the difference between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA?

With a Roth IRA you make contributions to your account that are not tax deductible, but all the money you contribute can be withdrawn at any time without incurring any tax or penalties if you need it. The earnings on your contributions may also be withdrawn on a tax-free basis if certain qualifications are met. In a Traditional IRA, you are generally contributing on a pre-tax basis. When you withdraw money in retirement, you pay taxes on all money withdrawn. This is a simplified summary. Please consult a financial advisor for information specific to your own circumstances.

How do I know if Roth or Traditional IRA is right for me?

There are many factors that go into this decision. If you are uncertain as to which is right for you, please contact a financial advisor. One important consideration is the income limit on Roth IRAs; please see the IRS website for more information on income limits.

If I have a CalSavers IRA, can I have another IRA or retirement plan at the same time?

Yes, but please note, the CalSavers Program will not have information on any other IRAs you may contribute to or whether you also participate in an employer retirement plan. It is your responsibility to ensure that across all of your IRAs, you are contributing within the IRS’ annual limits, which can be found here. Please consult a tax expert or financial advisor to discuss your specific circumstances.

Is CalSavers information available in other languages?

All program information is available in English and Spanish. The Program website (www.calsavers.com) is currently available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. Over time, communication materials and the website will be translated into additional languages. In addition, Client Services phone support is available in nearly all languages by calling 855-650-6918.

Can the state take my money?

No. The money in the account is your money and the state has no access to it.

How long can my money stay in my account?

Please consult your tax advisor for more information, but the following generally apply:

  • For a Roth IRA (the standard CalSavers account type), it can stay in as long as you like until you pass away.
  • If you contribute to a Traditional IRA when it becomes available, the IRS has Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s) that you must begin taking after reaching 70 ½ years old.

How much will I be able to save for retirement?

Check out the Retirement Calculator on the CalSavers website to see how much you can save.

Does saving through this program impact my eligibility for other programs like SNAP or TANF?

In general, federal benefits programs do not count retirement assets against a person's eligibility. For more information, check with your benefits office.

Does saving through this program impact my eligibility for financial aid for college?

In general, qualified retirement accounts are not counted for federal financial aid; however, you should carefully review your own circumstances with a tax expert or financial advisor. Withdrawals from IRAs can also jeopardize financial aid for the year following the withdrawal. For more information, check with your financial aid office.

Self-Enrollment

What do I need to enroll?

To enroll as an individual (not through an employer), you must:

  • have earned income
  • be at least age eighteen
  • have a bank account from which you will make contributions, and
  • provide some personal information, including full name, either a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, residential address, and date of birth.

You can join the program today on the Saver website.

How do I contribute?

You can contribute electronically through transfers from your bank account or by personal check. Contributions can be made through one-time lump sum contributions or through recurring automatic contributions from your bank account.

When you connect your bank account, you will need to provide your bank routing number, account number, and bank name.

How much can I contribute?

You can contribute up to the annual contribution limit set by the IRS or up to the amount of earned income you have for the year (whichever is less). For 2019, the limit is $6,000 if you’re under 50 and $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older. Note that this limit applies to all of your IRA accounts in aggregate. If you have IRA accounts in addition to your CalSavers account, you will need to ensure that in combination, you are not contributing more than federal limits allow.

Eligibility to participate in a Roth IRA is limited to certain annual income levels. To determine if you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, please visit the IRS website.

Recurring contributions—scheduled at least once every three months—must be at least $10. One time lump sum contributions must be at least $50.