Get answers to frequently asked questions

Maryland’s new state-sponsored retirement savings program is open right now. It was created to help nearly one million Marylanders who work but don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. We understand you’ll have questions. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, we’re here to help.

Will assistance be available in other languages?

Yes, the call center will offer assistance in English and Spanish and will have access to translation services for other languages. Certain materials may also be available in Spanish.

Can my funds be taken by people I owe money to?

Maryland law protects an IRA from attachment by creditors. However, for the Maryland law to apply, the account owner must have resided in Maryland for two years before declaring bankruptcy (with shorter periods for someone who hasn’t lived anywhere for two consecutive years.) If the account owner isn’t a Maryland resident, then the thaws of whatever state they live in would apply.

Is my account safe from cyber threats?

MarylandSaves has processes in place to protect the security of accounts and protect your personal information. Our program administrator uses various technologies to protect sensitive information in accordance with industry and regulatory standards, including encryption, two-factor authentication, and automatic logout after a specified period of inactivity.

Is my personal information reported to government agencies to determine immigration status?

No. Your information is not reported to immigration agencies or law enforcement. It is reported to the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes. 

How does the MarylandSaves program work?

MarylandSaves is a simple, safe, easy way for you to save for emergencies and retirement. For most people, their employer will register for the program and give MarylandSaves your contact information. We then contact you, tell you about the program, and offer you the chance to customize your savings or opt out and not participate at all.

You don’t have to do anything: if you don’t, starting in a month you will automatically start saving 5% of pay and the money will go into your personal WorkLife Savings Account. You can change your savings rate, withdraw your money, change investment options, or quit the program entirely at any time. Your employer signs you up, but everything about the program is totally under your control.

If you are self-employed, you can sign yourself up by clicking here.

Because most people don’t have the time or knowledge to choose investments or estimate their retirement needs, MarylandSaves has a standard (“default”) set of options. They have been chosen to work for most people and most people don’t change them. Here are the main features – but you can change any of them at any time:

  • 5% of gross pay will be saved from each paycheck in the first year. This will increase by 1% in the following year and each year thereafter, up to a maximum of 10%.

  • Your money will go first into an Emergency Savings Fund, so you have money when you need it for health problems, car repairs, or whatever. Once that account reaches $1,000, additional contributions will go into a specially designed retirement fund based on your age. These “target date funds” change their investments as you get closer to retirement age.

Do I have to do anything to join MarylandSaves?

No. Once your employer signs you up, you’ll be enrolled automatically, and savings will be deducted from your paycheck automatically and put in your personal WorkLife Savings Account a month later. Unless you direct otherwise, your money will be invested first in emergency savings and then in a specially designed retirement program.

However, you’re in control and change anything at any time, including withdrawing your money or opting out of the program entirely. Your participation in MarylandSaves is completely voluntary.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is a type of retirement account that helps you reduce your taxes once you retire. While you’re working, you pay your usual income tax on the money you earn and deposit some of your after-tax earnings it into your Roth IRA. Your Roth IRA earns money (interest or dividends), and that money is constantly added to your account. When you retire and start taking money out of your Roth IRA (like you’re paying yourself), there are no taxes. In other words, all the investment gains that your account earns over the years is tax-free. And that’s a big deal. For more details on Roth IRAs, you can visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

Does the program provide information and consumer protections to savers?

Yes, MarylandSaves helps ensure that employees have more choices, more information, and easier access to retirement savings accounts. The MarylandSaves Board are legally fiduciaries obligated to protect savers’ interests. Consumer protections are included in the program and may be enforced by appropriate State agencies.

Can my employer or the State of Maryland take the money from my WorkLife Savings Account?

No. The money is yours, and only you can access your savings. Your contributions are remitted directly to MarylandSaves on your behalf and are credited directly to your personal WorkLife Account. The State cannot access your account for other purposes and your account is not tied to any other retirement plans offered by the State.