Crowley, Ellison Introduce Legislation to Make myRA Retirement Savings Program Permanent

Feb 9, 2016 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Bill Will Ensure Critical Retirement Savings Program is in Place for Future Workers

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) announced the introduction of the Making Your Retirement Accessible (myRA) Act (H.R. 4491),  legislation to codify into law myRA (my Retirement Account), a program created by President Obama and the Treasury Department to help American workers save for retirement. Crowley first called for making the myRA program permanent in his Building Better Savings, Building Brighter Futures plan to address the savings and retirement security crisis in the United States.

“Americans want to save, and Americans know they should save. The problem is, many workers lack the opportunity to save,” said Rep. Crowley.  “Common barriers like minimum contributions, market fluctuations, and concern about not being able access savings in case of an emergency can put retirement accounts out of reach for many Americans. The myRA program changes that by giving all workers access to a long-term, stable savings option. I applaud the President and Treasury Department for introducing myRA and making it available to American workers. Now, we must make it permanent so that every worker in the future has a reliable option for saving for retirement.”

“Millions of hard working Americans are finding it harder and harder to put savings aside for themselves and for their children,” said Rep. Ellison. “For many of these Americans, their workplace doesn’t offer retirement investment plans. The myRA program solves that by offering an investment option with no minimum balance, no cost, and stable returns. Making the program permanent will finally allow these families to build their nest egg, as myRA, alongside Social Security, holds up the promise of retirement security.”  

Many workers that are currently not saving for their future say they recognize the importance of saving for retirement or other potential needs, but for a variety of reasons are not using existing vehicles. Reasons can include the inability to meet minimum contributions, concerns about fees and fluctuations in the market, worry over not being able to tap into funds in an emergency, and not having access to an employer-sponsored savings plan.

The myRA program addresses these concerns and other common barriers to saving for retirement. The program allows a worker to open an account with as little as $1, and gives them the ability to make automatic payments every pay period. The funds invested go solely into U.S. savings bonds, ensuring these accounts remain stable, not at risk in the market. Further, the accounts do not have any associated maintenance charges or fees, which means every dollar that is invested will be returned – plus interest – to the account holder.

myRA also helps address one of the biggest saving deterrents out there by allowing access to these funds for emergencies. Without taxes and penalties for withdrawing funds, these accounts can act as an emergency rainy-day fund, as well as a future retirement account. And because myRA will invest solely in U.S. savings bonds, there’s no risk of losing value in the market.

Announced last spring, Crowley’s “Building Better Savings, Building Brighter Futures” plan will make Americans more financially secure throughout their lifetimes by creating new financial options that encourage personal saving, expanding employer-provided retirement plans, and strengthening Social Security. Crowley released a detailed blueprint for the plan, which can be found here.