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The End of The MyRA Savings Plan – What Went Wrong?

The Treasury Department retired the MyRA (My Retirement) Savings Plan. Claiming low demand and costly upkeep – more than 70 million dollars since 2014 –  The plug was pulled two years past its date of birth, leaving some participants in dismay.

For those of you who may not be aware, the MyRA was similar to a very limited Roth IRA retirement savings account enacted by Congress in the late 90’s.

While the government reassesses its strategy and tries to come up with alternatives, doubts also begin to surface. Was the initiative flawed from the start? Were American people not smart enough to think of the future or were they just unaware of the program itself? Most importantly, where should we turn to for our retirement needs now?

In this article, we dissect what went wrong and give some of these questions a proper answer. If you fear that your retirement might be hanging in the balance, stick with me, and we will get through it together!

myRA retired

After 2 years and 70 million, the MyRA goes the way of the dodo bird.


The Weight Of Multiple Shortcomings Ended The MyRA

A government-backed strategy rarely fails on its own. What ultimately brought the MyRA Savings Plan down was a long series of poor choices. Weak marketing, limitations, over-complicated procedures, and an unstable economy all influenced the program, eventually playing a part in its early demise.

Above all, the MyRA lacked the means to provide its users with a valid alternative to other, better known, saving solutions. Extremely similar to a Roth IRA, the MyRA instead required employers – not the actual account owner – to deal with the more technical aspects of its management.

Most job providers, though, did not want to take more responsibilities than what they already had. Perhaps, to avoid having to deal with it, several failed to mention its existence or flat out advised against it. In retrospect, they weren’t completely wrong!

Another major mistake was marketing the savings plan primarily to low-income families. In today’s economy, most Americans struggle to save enough money to withstand minor emergencies. Those who can’t rely on a stable job and worry about making ends meet won’t be able to save for retirement.

Life After The MyRA!

Considering its structure and the terms of use, the MyRA Savings Plan is probably not going to be missed. Each account could only hold a maximum of $15,000 until the funds had to be moved into a Roth anyway. $15,000 is a good start, but a sum that is just too little for anybody to live on in retirement. The idea behind it may have been good-hearted, but the entire endeavor was doomed from the start.

The Roth IRAs remains as a suitable replacement to the MyRA. The Treasury Department is already encouraging citizens to switch over, with a step-by-step system that will guide you through the whole migration process. Your savings won’t be lost.

Two years and millions of dollars later, all that the MyRA initiative managed to leave behind is the foul taste of defeat. We can hope the current events serve as a lesson, teaching the higher-ups to learn from their mistakes, but who is holding their breath?

Terry White

About Terry White

I started my business career after getting my degree in Accounting from the University of New Mexico in 1983. My first job was as a controller for a local title company, and in 1987 I started First Financial Escrow, Inc. Over the years I played a part in several startup companies including First Financial Equities, Inc., First Financial Trust, Inc., First Financial Marketing, Inc. and Asset Ventures, Inc. In 1997 First Financial Escrow, Inc. was able to purchase the escrow accounts from Sunwest Bank and changed its name to Sunwest Escrow. As the market changes, Sunwest has grown and changed along with it. Besides my wife, Sheila, we have three boys, two daughters-in-law, one grandson, another grandson on the way and a future daughter-in-law. Sunwest is my passion, and I enjoy coming to work every day to see what will happen next. I enjoy fly fishing, spending time in Colorado, biking and watching my boys play soccer.