Article

A Step in the Right Direction on Retirement

President Barack Obama’s MyRA plan is a start, but Congress should do more.

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In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama announced MyRA, a new initiative to help Americans save for retirement. Under the president’s proposal, workers would be able to automatically save for retirement through U.S. savings bonds.

This is a valuable first step toward improving workers’ financial security. Less than half of all workers have a retirement plan at work, and about one-third of workers may never have one. And Americans’ savings are often inadequate; about 2 in 5 Americans report that they probably or certainly wouldn’t be able to come up with $2,000 in an emergency, according to a 2012 survey. With this announcement, the president has taken an important step toward improving retirement security for many Americans and has shown his willingness to take action; but there are limits to what the president can do on his own. His proposal also shows the limits of having to bypass a Congress that has yet to take the necessary steps to improve our retirement system.

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Authors

Joe Valenti

Director, Consumer Finance

David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project