Practical analysis for investment professionals
30 January 2014

myRA Retirement Plans: Everything You Need to Know

As if we didn’t have enough acronyms in financial services, this week we added a new one: “myRA” — which stands for “my Retirement Account.” As Marketplace explained in a radio segment, President Obama stumbled a bit over the name in his State of the Union address “and there’s still some confusion about what they’ll be called — some of the folks we talked to are pronouncing it ‘Myra,’ like the name.” But the idea behind the accounts is simple: They are aimed at workers whose employers do not offer traditional retirement accounts.



  • The editors at Bloomberg note that the “proposal might do some good — not by helping workers, most of whom are unlikely to take advantage of it, but by spurring a discussion about how to fix a broken retirement system.” And while myRAs “will help a bit,” solving this problem “is a formidable long-term challenge.” (Bloomberg)
  • Lisa Mensah, executive director of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security, writes in “New Retirement Accounts Offer Workers Hope” that “it is heartening to see the president and the country’s leaders take seriously the need to improve the savings system that will ultimately drive household financial security in the US.” (Aspen Institute)
  • In “President Obama Focuses on Retirement Security,” Mercer applauds the President’s effort to extend the reach of retirement programs, but suggests that “expanding and improving current programs may be more effective across the entire spectrum of workers than creating additional retirement programs.” (Mercer, PDF)
  • Obama’s myRA proposal is good and bad, says Teresa Ghilarducci, SCEPA director, but leakage issues doom it to fail as a solution to the retirement crisis. (SCEPA blog)






Whether you applaud or decry President Obama’s myRA plan, most agree a retirement-savings crisis is looming and that reform is needed. As Bloomberg View put it: “MyRAs will help a bit, but the problem will eventually demand much bolder thinking.”

What do you think about the myRA accounts? What ideas do you have for improving retirement security? Tell us in the comments section below.

Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

About the Author(s)
Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster was a content director on the professional learning team at CFA Institute and host of the Take 15 Podcast. She is the former managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Lauren spent nearly a decade on staff at the Financial Times as a reporter and editor based in the New York bureau, followed by freelance writing for Barron’s and the FT. Lauren holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

2 thoughts on “myRA Retirement Plans: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. gglenn says:

    Its confusing. Is a person limited to $15,000 total contributions for their lifetime or $15,000 per year maximum. If $15,00 per year at which point the funds would be transferred to a Roth IRA whose investments could then be controlled by the individual this would be an excellent addition for those who have no access to 401k. presently the max ira contribution is $5500. If its $15,000 max stuck in govt bonds till retirement then i;m not impressed.
    Not sure why they dont expand the IRA max contribution for those who dont have access to a 401k. my suggestion, Just change the law that everyone can contribute up to $20k per year for example in either a 401k, roth 401k, Ira or roth Ira. Then index the max contribution annually for inflation.

  2. betty roberson says:

    so many programs the president initiates are confusing

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