Can't Set Up a Retirement Plan? Now You Can, Gov't Says
New myRA savings plan is free, no-risk vehicle for lower, middle classes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2015 6:43 PM CST
Leave the jar behind.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – About one-third of non-retired Americans have no retirement savings or pensions to their names—and the government says it has just the thing to remedy that. Cue myRA, a free, no-risk savings plan designed for people who don't have access to (or can't afford) 401(k)s, IRAs, or other savings plans, USA Today reports. The myRA—basically a Roth IRA in terms of withdrawal and contribution requirements and income thresholds—doesn't cost anything to open, has zero fees, and can be carried from job to job, Forbes reports. Plus the market risk is zilch: It earns interest at the same variable rate as investments in the US Government Securities Fund (a 2.31% return last year, the magazine notes). "To have a secure retirement, the earlier you start, the better off you're going to be, and we know that there are some challenges in getting people started," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew tells USA Today. "It has to be simple. It has to be safe, and it has to be affordable."

Account holders with an adjusted gross income of less than $131,000 a year ($193,000 if married and filing jointly) can add up to $5,500 a year for 2015, with contributions as low as $1 (those limits jump to $132,000 single, $194,000 married in 2016, per Forbes); contributors aged 50 and older by the end of 2015 can stash up to $6,500 a year. A myRA account is meant to be a stepping stone, though, not a lone savings vehicle: The account maxes out at $15,000 and can only be held for 30 years before it has to be rolled over to a private-sector account, USA Today notes. "This is a starter, not a finish," Lew says, per Forbes. "People will never build up the kind of retirement savings they need if they don't get started." A 29-year-old employee for a Michigan gift shop agrees, telling USA Today he contributes $50 from each paycheck to his account, which he'll eventually roll it over. "It's good to know ... I am not starting from scratch," he says. (These 100 CEOs with $4.9B in retirement funds likely won't qualify.)