DEFINITION of 'myRA'

A new tax-advantaged retirement account introduced by President Barack Obama in January 2014 – and launched by the Treasury Department in 2015 – as a way for lower-income workers to save for retirement. It costs nothing to open an account and workers can contribute as little as $5 per month. The maximum balance for a myRA is $15,000.

BREAKING DOWN 'myRA'

Because many employers do not offer retirement plans and because most traditional and Roth IRAs have account-opening minimums and minimum additional deposit requirements that lower-income workers often can’t meet, President Obama introduced myRA to give workers who weren’t served by the existing retirement savings plans an easier way to start saving.

A myRA account is similar to a Roth IRA in that workers make contributions with post-tax dollars, but contributions grow tax-free and distributions are not taxable. Once the myRA’s balance exceeds $15,000, the worker must roll it over to a private-sector Roth IRA. By the time the account has reached that size, it will have already met the account-opening minimum for a Roth IRA.

People can set up automatic contributions from their paychecks – or from their checking or savings accounts. At tax time, they can also direct all or part of their federal tax refunds to their myRA accounts.There's no cost to employers. They simply share myRA information and set up payroll deductions for employees who sign up, or tell them about other ways they can fund their myRA accounts. Contributions are invested in Treasury bonds, which are considered safe but have historically low returns that don’t always exceed inflation rates. However, the government guarantees the principal in these investments, so workers should never lose their invested principal. The accounts have no fees.

 

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