Treasury Notes

 Helping More Americans Save

By: J. Mark Iwry

This week marks America Saves Week, an annual opportunity to encourage all Americans to save and a chance for individuals and families to take stock of their financial health and preparedness. The U.S. Treasury Department joins many organizations and our federal partners in renewing our commitment to helping more Americans save. 
Saving for retirement is one of the best ways to prepare for a secure financial future.  So to help workers without access to employer-sponsored retirement options, the President directed the Treasury Department to develop myRA, or My Retirement Account, a new simple, safe and affordable savings option. myRA is now available to a small group of employers that are participating in an initial, limited phase of the program. Treasury is working closely with these employers to get feedback and ensure that the user experience is as simple and straightforward as possible – both for employers and employees – in order to make the program more broadly available.
To help new savers and those already saving achieve greater retirement security, Treasury and IRS have been working to strengthen and improve our system of employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Treasury has issued regulations and other guidance encouraging 401(k) plans to adopt automatic enrollment, automatic escalation of contributions, and other helpful plan designs and practices that make saving easier.  Research shows that people are more likely to save when enrolled automatically with the choice to opt out. We have also been working to make it easier for retirees to manage their savings in retirement and to use lifetime income options – in pension plans, 401(k) plans, and IRAs – to protect themselves from outliving their assets.  In addition, Treasury has expanded the portability of retirement savings by making it easier for plans to accept rollovers of benefits from previous employers’ plans or from IRAs. 
We are also ensuring that more Americans have the knowledge and tools to manage money and credit responsibly because educated and financially capable consumers can better attain their own financial goals and contribute to the strength of our overall economy.  Through, we provide a trusted source for free, reliable and unbiased financial information to people of all ages including ways to save.
In addition to Treasury’s efforts, the President announced this week that he is directing the Department of Labor to update its rules relating to retirement advice. We understand that the Department of Labor will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking, beginning a process in which it will seek extensive public feedback on the best approach to modernize the rules on retirement advice and set new standards designed to protect working and middle class families, while minimizing any potential disruption to good practices in the marketplace. In his statement, the President welcomed different perspectives and ideas on how to move forward.  
America Saves Week is an ideal time for people across the country to think about how they can begin or continue saving toward their financial goals. Good saving habits today can lead to a healthy financial future.
J. Mark Iwry is the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Retirement and Health Policy and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy
Posted in:  Personal Finance
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