WILMINGTON — The new regional retirement counselor of a pension supplement plan for public employees introduced herself Monday to Clinton County commissioners.
Government employees can have retirement accounts that supplement their Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) pensions. Rachel Willoughby is the southwest Ohio retirement plan counselor with a company that administers the County Commissioners Association of Ohio’s (CCAO) deferred compensation plan.
After her morning appointment with Clinton County commissioners, Willoughby said a deferred compensation plan is a supplement to PERS and “essentially a governmental version of 401(k).”
The option allows public employees to take money out of their paychecks on a pretax basis to supplement their pension, and it offers different investment options, she said.
A CCAO pension supplement is not new to Clinton County and has been around since the 1980s, according to Willoughby. There also is an Ohio deferred compensation plan available here.
She recently gave a market volatility presentation in Hamilton County at a “Lunch and Learn.” She said it went over very well.
People are worried about what’s going on with their money and what’s going to happen with their money, Willoughby told Clinton County commissioners.
The purpose of the Hamilton County presentation, she said, was to educate people about what market volatility means when it comes to retirement plans.
In the get-acquainted meeting Monday with commissioners, Willoughby said she has a passion for what she does for a living mainly because her parents “did not save properly for retirement; it’s not a very enjoyable retirement life for them.”
She said her parents, who were in the private sector, tell her they wish somebody like her would have come to their jobs and talked with them.
Willoughby said she meets with employees, both in group settings and individually.
“I share with people that will literally have to work until their body can no longer physically work, and that’s a reality,” said Willoughby.
In her job as retirement plan counselor with Empower Retirement, she serves 10 counties in southwest Ohio.
Employees are responsible for 100 percent of the monetary contribution in the CCAO deferred compensation plan, according to Willoughby. The employer — county government — does not contribute a share.
Ohio PERS dates back to 1935, according to its website. Ohio PERS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefit programs for public employees throughout the state who are not covered by another state or local retirement system.
With assets of $91.2 billion as of year-end 2014, Ohio PERS is the largest state pension fund in Ohio, and the 11th largest public retirement system and 15th largest retirement system in the United States.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.