What's the Deal With Obama's New MyRA Plan?

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 28 2014 10:03 PM

What's the Deal With Obama's New MyRA Plan?

One of the most intriguing ideas in the State of the Union was Obama's promise to use executive action to create a new middle-class savings vehicle that he calls a "myRA" (a pun, get it). The speech didn't really make it clear what this looks like exactly, and I have to say the White House's policy briefing sheet didn't either:

Creating “myRA” – A Safe, Easy-to-Use Starter Savings Account to Help Millions of Middle Class Americans Save for Retirement. Starting to save is just the first step towards a secure retirement. Workers must have a place to invest their hard-earned savings that provides an appropriate balance of risk and return, and many private sector providers do not offer retirement savings options tailored to smaller balance savers. Our retirement system should help these potential savers and encourage them to begin building their retirement security. The President is using his executive authority to create “myRA” (my Retirement Account) – a new simple, safe and affordable “starter” retirement savings account that will be available through employers and help millions of Americans save for retirement. This savings account would be offered through a familiar Roth IRA Account and, like savings bonds, would be backed by the U.S. government.

The administration says full details will be coming tomorrow. The language about the myRA being offered "through a familiar Roth IRA Account" suggests to me that they're not so much proposing a new type of account as a new type of bond. But I suppose only time will tell.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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