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CHARLESTON – West Virginia Retirement Plus has surpassed $200 million in assets, the continuation of a dramatic 10-year growth period.

As of Sept. 30 the plan possessed $200.2 million in total assets, a remarkable increase from the $68 million on hand when State Treasurer John Perdue’s office assumed control in July of 2006.   

On June 30 it claimed 16,793 participants, more than triple the 5,022 in the plan when Treasurer Perdue took over. The $200 million asset milestone similarly represents a virtual tripling in dollar amount. 

Presently 107 municipalities and nearly all of West Virginia’s counties take part in the plan. A total of 294 political subdivisions participate, including boards of education and public service districts.

Treasurer’s Office staff have fueled the growth by meeting with and touting the program to the various governmental entities. 

“As with any program run by this office, we’re going to make it the best it can possibly be,” Treasurer Perdue said. “I sensed there were many public employees out there who did not have a viable supplemental retirement to augment their pensions, or in some cases serve as a pension. And we have been able to meet that need.”

A 457 plan is similar to a 401-k plan in the private sector. Employees typically have a selected dollar amount taken from their paychecks each pay period and invested in mutual funds of the worker’s choosing. A 457 plan does not offer a regular employer match, as would a 401-k, but does boast similar tax advantages. Contributions to the plan are deducted before taxes are calculated, lowering taxable income.

Public employees interested in enrolling should ask their human resources chief or payroll/benefits coordinator about participation availability. For more information, go to www.wv457.com, West Virginia Retirement Plus’ web site.

“It’s not getting any cheaper to live out one’s retirement comfortably these days,” Treasurer Perdue said. “Our hope is that more and more people will take advantage of Retirement Plus so these numbers roll even higher.”