"The Department of the Treasury developed myRA to address some of the common barriers to retirement saving and to provide an option that is simple, safe and affordable," explained Daniel Watson, a Treasury spokesman, in an email.
"MyRA is a starter retirement savings account, with no minimums, fees or risky investments, and savers can choose to transfer or roll over their account balance into a private-sector Roth IRA at any time," Watson said.
Calling the myRA a retirement account may be a bit of a stretch, given the $15,000 cap on contributions, according to some financial experts. If it helps lower-income Americans develop a savings habit, however, it may be useful.
"This is not a solution to the national savings problem, but it's a tool towards addressing it," said John at AARP. "It's a simple accumulator account for new savers, with no administrative costs and no risk of loss."
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With the myRA funds invested in government bonds and earning a guaranteed return equal to that of the "G" fund in the government's Thrift Savings Plan, there may be no risk of loss, but there's also little opportunity for return.
"The biggest criticism of the myRA accounts is that there is only one investment option," said Jeffrey Levine, an IRA technical consultant with Ed Slott and Co. "Shouldn't young savers be invested in growth assets?"