E. Lance Williams
In the State of the Union, the President announced that he will use his executive authority to direct Treasury to create “myRA” – a new simple, safe, and affordable “starter” retirement savings account that will help millions of low- and middle-income Americans begin to save for retirement.
Here’s what some people and organizations are saying about this unique new product:
American Benefits Council Senior Vice President Lynn Dudley, 1/28/14: "This is a beginner's plan. This is a way on a voluntary basis of giving people more access. It's a practical solution for people who don't have access to a plan. We know that access leads to participation, and we also know that participation leads to savings, so why not give it a try?”
Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), 1/28/13: “SIFMA supports the creation of the MyRA savings bond as mentioned in tonight's address as a tool to promote retirement savings. Given the vast numbers of baby boomers who reach retirement age every day, retirement savings incentives are needed more than ever to help people ensure their retirement security.”
Investment Company Institute, 1/28/14: “As we understand it, the ‘myRA’ account is designed to provide a simple retirement savings option for those Americans who want to put aside money for retirement but might not have access to a retirement plan through their employer, and we support that goal. A voluntary savings tool of this type can complement the existing vibrant and competitive private sector retirement offerings, which include low-cost mutual funds.”
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD): “I was encouraged by the President’s focus on making it easier for families at all income levels to save for retirement. Today, too many workers just don’t have enough set aside for retirement years. We need to create more opportunities.”
Professor Jamie Hopkins, the American College of Financial Services: “While this will not solve the retirement income shortfall that exists in the U.S., it is a step in the right direction. These new accounts will open up access to tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles that many people do not currently have access to because of cost-prohibitive barriers.”
Forbes Contributor Jeffrey Brown, 1/30/11: "All in all, this proposal offers a rare opportunity to do something tangible to help people save for retirement without worsening our near-term deficits or unraveling the current employer-based system. It remains to be seen whether small employers take it up in enough numbers to make a meaningful dent in the savings shortfall. But given there are virtually no downsides to this plan, it seems an experiment worth trying."
Center for American Progress' Director of Asset Building Joe Valenti and Economic Policy Senior Fellow David Madland: In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama announced MyRA, a new initiative to help Americans save for retirement. Under the president’s proposal, workers would be able to automatically save for retirement through U.S. savings bonds. Less than half of all workers have a retirement plan at work, and about one-third of workers may never have one. With this announcement, the president has taken an important step toward improving retirement security for many Americans and has shown his willingness to take action.
E. Lance Williams is the Special Assistant in the Office of Business and Public Liaison at the United States Department of the Treasury.