White House Launches No-Fee Retirement Savings Option for Americans Without Employment Retirement Savings Plans

I just received this announcement from the White House Office of Public Engagement and decided to share it with you:

Friends—

The U.S. Treasury yesterday officially launched its myRA program, a new simple, safe, no-fee retirement savings option for the millions of Americans without access to a retirement savings plan at work. Please see the below press release and spread the word to your colleagues, community members, and businesses.

myRA makes saving simple, safe, and affordable for individuals to start saving, and is a good option for employers who do not offer a retirement savings plan to any portion of their staff, such as part-time, seasonal, or other employees.  With myRA, there are no costs to open an account, no fees, and no complicated investment options. Plus, people can choose how much to contribute – any amount that fits their budget – and they can access the money they put into their account if they need it. Also, at tax time, individuals can direct all or part of their federal tax refund to their myRA account.

To learn more or sign up for an account, visit myRA.gov.

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U.S. Treasury Department
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2015
Treasury Public Affairs, (202) 622-2960

U.S. TREASURY LAUNCHES myRA (my Retirement Account)
TO HELP BRIDGE AMERICA’S RETIREMENT SAVINGS GAP

With pilot concluded, program expands with new funding options 
to make myRA available to more people

WASHINGTONWith millions of Americans lacking adequate retirement savings, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the national launch of myRA, a simple, safe and affordable new savings option for those who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan at work.  People can get information about myRA and sign up for an account at myRA.gov.

myRA is designed to remove common barriers to saving, and give people an easy way to get started,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “myRA has no fees, no risk of losing money and no minimum balance or contribution requirements. To make saving easier than ever, you can now put savings into my myRA RA directly from your bank account.”

With the initial pilot phase of the program concluded, myRA is now available nationwide with multiple ways for people to start saving:

  • Paycheck. Set up automatic direct deposit contributions to myRA through an employer.
  • NEW: Checking or savings account. Now savers can fund a myRA account directly by setting up recurring or one-time contributions from a checking or savings account.
  • NEW: Federal tax refund. At tax time, direct all or a portion of a federal tax refund to myRA.

myRA can give people confidence that they’re taking steps in the right direction, and it can serve as a bridge to other savings options that will carry them the rest of the way,” said Lew. “myRA alone will not solve the nation’s retirement savings gap, but it will be an important stepping stone for encouraging and creating a nation of savers.”

According to a 2015 Federal Reserve Report, 31 percent of non-retired people said they have no retirement savings or pension whatsoever. Additionally, a 2013 report by the National Institute on Retirement Savings found that the average near-retirement household had only $12,000 in retirement savings. Among workers who do not participate in a 401(k) or other defined contribution plan, 42 percent say it’s because their employer does not offer one. Furthermore, among part-time workers, a 2015 BLS Economic Release found that 62 percent don’t have access to a retirement plan at work.

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama announced that he would direct the Treasury Department to develop myRA. Throughout 2014, the Treasury Department developed the framework for the program, including creating a new Treasury savings bond to serve as the underlying investment for these accounts, as well as designating a financial agent to help Treasury administer the accounts and set up a simple way for savers to fund their accounts through their employers. This year, the Treasury Department worked with a small, diverse group of employers as part of the initial pilot phase of myRA to get feedback and ensure that the user experience is as simple and straightforward as possible.

myRA is designed as a starter retirement account to help bridge the savings gap for many of these workers. It is optimized to appeal to first-time savers, for whom a no-risk, principal-protected investment is more appealing than a higher-risk investment option.   As myRA account holders grow their savings, they have the option to transfer to a private-sector Roth IRA with diverse investment options at any time, or transfer to a private-sector Roth IRA once they reach the maximum myRA balance of $15,000.

myRA is a Roth IRA and follows the same eligibility requirements. To participate in myRA, savers (or their spouses, if married filing jointly) must have taxable compensation to be eligible to contribute to a myRA account and be within the Roth IRA income guidelines. Savers can contribute to their myRA accounts as little as a few dollars up to $5,500 per year (or $6,500 per year for individuals who will be 50 years of age or older at the end of the year). Savers can also withdraw money they put into their myRA accounts tax-free and without penalty at any time.  Roth IRA requirements apply to the tax free withdrawal of any earnings.

For more information about myRA or to sign up for an account, visit myRA.gov.

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