WASHINGTON– With 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.