Solving the Retirement Puzzle

The Potential of myRAs to Build a Personal Safety Net

The growing recognition that millions of Americans are ill-prepared for retirement has prompted a number of state and federal policy proposals to promote retirement security. Yet even the most promising proposals fail to acknowledge a prerequisite to sustaining long-term savings: access to flexible resources that can be tapped in an emergency or can support productive investments that can pay off over the long haul. One recently announced effort – the Obama Administration’s myRA program – is designed to facilitate access to a savings vehicles for the mostly low- and middle-income Americans who miss out on current savings opportunities. As currently designed, the program is unlikely to have a significant impact at scale on the long-term prospects of this group of workers. But with certain adjustments and policy reforms, myRAs could facilitate the creation of personal safety nets that would both provide short-term financial stability and lay the foundation for a secure retirement. Short-term, flexible savings are a crucial but overlooked piece required to solve the retirement puzzle.

ATTACHMENT:

Solving the Retirement Puzzle

Authors:

Justin King is Policy Director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this position, he works to develop and advance innovative public policies that expand economic opportunity by better supporting the financial needs and desires of striving Americans. 

Aleta Sprague is a program fellow with the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America.

Elliot Schreur was a Policy Analyst with the Asset Building Program at New America between 2013 and 2015. 

Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as the Asset Building program's research director and as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract Initiative.