MyRA launch shows we need to get over our problems with mandates


The Obama Administration launched the myRA this week – a Roth IRA with payroll deduction features invested in conservative government securities. MyRA is a praiseworthy but small-bore initiative aimed at encouraging retirement saving for the more than 40 million Americans who don’t have accounts. In my Reuters column this week, I describe it as a kid’s bike […]

Can state auto-IRA plans improve retirement security?


Remember the auto-IRA? It’s a good–but modest–idea for improving retirement security that President Obama has been trying to get going since 2010. Auto-IRAs would cover millions of workers who don’t have 401(k)s on the job–mostly lower-income workers at small businesses. But Congress has refused to cooperate, so the White House threw in the towel on […]

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Social Security’s file-and-suspend feature is on Washington’s hit list


File-and-suspend is hot. The once-obscure Social Security strategy for married couples has become almost mainstream in the past couple of years; a growing number of financial planners recommend the strategy to clients. But you’d be well-advised to get it while you can: file-and-suspend is at the top of Washington’s hit list for changes to retirement policy. […]

White House throws in the towel on auto-IRA, and turns attention to the states


The White House is throwing in the towel on its stalled initiative to extend retirement saving accounts to millions of workers who currently aren’t covered by employer plans. Instead, the Obama Administration is turning its attention to helping states close the coverage gap. That’s one headline that surfaced at the recent White House Conference on […]

Survey finds an unfounded rise in retirement confidence


Denial is the first emotional stage of grief – and that may be where Americans are at right now in their attitudes about retirement security. The 2015 edition of the longest-running national survey of retirement confidence, released today by the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), reveals a second consecutive annual jump in the percentage […]

IRA providers are waving cash; should you take it?


Back in the day you could walk into a bank to open a new account and walk out with a free toaster. Today, you can walk into the office of a big mutual fund company or bank and get a wad of cash if you open a retirement savings account. You can get anywhere from […]

Romney’s huge IRA makes a comeback in Obama retirement proposal


It was a memorable moment in the 2012 presidential race. In their October 16 debate, Defending his blind trust investments, Gov. Romney said: ROMNEY: Just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United […]

State plans for low-income retirement saving gain momentum

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss.

My home state of Illinois is not the first place that comes to mind for innovative approaches to retirement savings. We are much more infamous for our pension plan for state workers, which is the worst-funded in the country. But Illinois just became the first U.S. state to adopt a promising new approach to a […]

Thinking of an IRA rollver? Think twice


John Turner wondered if he should roll over his federal government retirement account into an individual retirement account. So he called 15 IRA providers to get some guidance. That may sound like overkill, but Turner wasn’t really contemplating a rollover. He was calling IRA providers to test the truthfulness and value of their advice on […]

Charitable IRA makes a last-minute comeback for 2014


Gotta love the way we make tax policy these days. Congress finally okayed charitable IRA transfers for 2014 (!) this week. This provision – which bounces in and out of existence like a yo-yo – allows IRA account owners who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) to make direct contributions to charitable organizations, and […]