Memorable Summer with CalSavers

As the summer comes to an end, our McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento are finishing up their final days and packing up to return home or to a new phase of their lives. Ilana Shoyket reflects on the past 12 weeks as in Fellow placed with CalSavers, a program under the California State Treasurer.

For years to come, I will cherish my last summer as an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco. I woke up every morning in the heart of Sacramento and walked over to the California State Treasurer’s Office. Residing on the first floor of the grand building is the CalSavers team that I had the pleasure of working with for the summer.

CalSavers is a retirement savings program geared to help over 7 million California workers who lack access to workplace retirement savings vehicles. For small business owners with at least five employees, most of whom do not currently offer a retirement savings program, CalSavers provides a quick and simple solution for employees to start saving for retirement. Even for businesses with less than five employees, CalSavers is available for the employer and employees to sign up individually. 

Growing up in San Francisco, I walked past small businesses and nonprofits daily. One nonprofit that has a special place in my heart is Kahlon Family Services (KFS) School. At USF, there is a Service Learning Requirement that includes “a semester-long community engagement”. I completed my requirement as an intern working alongside the amazing founder of KFS School, Vanessa Kahlon. Kahlon’s mission to provide each child at her school with individual learning plans that ensure social emotional growth paired with academics is inspiring, and every one of her employees deserves to save for their retirement. With CalSavers, Kahlon and her employees can sign up for individual savings plans in September 2019, and start preparing for retirement. The wonderful team will have security to save and keep positively impacting the lives of numerous children at KFS School.

Though I have decades to go until I retire, I am aware that America’s population is aging rapidly and there is a large coverage gap for millions planning to retire. California is no exception for financial challenges that millions of hard workers face in retirement. Being the hub for progressive and innovative policy that it is, our Golden State’s retirement savings program puts us one step ahead to help workers retire securely. A proud CalSavers participant employer, Malcom Frost CEO of HR Ledger, describes the program as a “perfect model of how government and business should work together.” Frost’s description hits the jackpot and with three and a half years of studying business practices that focus on social impact at USF’s School of Management, I agree that CalSavers embodies an ideal partnership between the public and private sector.

From researching and analyzing various state regulations regarding retirement savings to setting up and participating in CalSavers’ official launch July 1st, 2019, I am honored to have been a part of this groundbreaking moment in California’s rich history. 


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