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Senior Citizen Politics

New MyRA Retirement Savings Program, Opportunity Agenda Signed by President Obama

Presidential notes that Social Security often is not enough but often no solutions to make it better - see video

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Jan. 30, 2014 – President Obama yesterday signed a presidential memorandum to begin his “opportunity agenda, including MyRA, that he calls a “new type of savings bond,” that will help more Americans save for their retirement through automatic payroll deductions. He told workers at U.S. Steel this is the fourth part of the opportunity agenda he introduced the night before in the State of the Union, which is aimed at “making hard work pay off for every single American.” He noted that Social Security is often not enough for a secure retirement.

For senior citizens already retired, the President offered no solutions to make Social Security more secure or beneficial in his State of the Union. The program was only mentioned as a reason for the new MyRA program, with the President saying it is "often not enough on its own." He added, "A Social Security check is critical, but oftentimes that monthly check, that's not enough."

Emphasizing that he can establish the MyRA program without Congressional legislation, he said it will encourage Americans to build a nest egg.


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“Workers can contribute through automatic deductions in their paychecks, just like those of you who have an employer-sponsored pension fund can do.  They can keep the same account even if they change jobs, so they can carry it over.  It’s safe.  These account balances will never go down in value.  They’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.  And it’s affordable.  So you can open an account with as little as $25.  You can contribute as little as $5 at a time, “the President said. 

“But what that means is for those of you who don't have a 401(k) on the job, don't have a pension on the job, don't have a mechanism to start saving - especially younger workers - you can get started now.  And in an emergency, you can withdraw contributions without paying a penalty.  So it's a pretty good deal.”

“And what I'm hoping is that working Americans will take a look, because I want more people to have the chance to save for retirement through their hard work.  And this is just one step that we can take to help more people do that.”

He also added that some of the other three parts of the plan “opportunity agenda… to speed up economic growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class” Will require Congressional action. 

The other three steps he explained yesterday are:

“Number one, more new jobs:  jobs in American manufacturing, jobs in American energy, jobs in American innovation and technology.

“Number two, we've got to train more Americans with the skills that we need to fill those jobs. 

“Number three, we've got to guarantee every child in America a world-class education.

“And number four, we've got to make sure hard work pays off.”

He added, “I’m hoping that Congress goes along with this, but I'm not going to wait for Congress.  I could do more with Congress, but I'm not going to not do anything without Congress, not when it’s about the basic security and dignity of American workers.”

He explained that “a retirement used to be a three-legged stool, used to have a pension.  Then you had your Social Security.  Then you had your own private savings.  And you put that all together, and you could retire.  But today, most workers don’t have a pension in America.  Just half work for an employer that offers any kind of retirement plan.  A Social Security check is critical, but oftentimes that monthly check, that's not enough.  And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help somebody if you don't have a 401(k).”

 “So here's what I'm going to do today.  This is what this little table is set up for. I'm going to sign a presidential memorandum that directs the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings.  And as soon as I sign this, Jack Lew will get the memo.  He is right here.  So I'm going to be able to just -- here, here's your memo.”


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