It might be a bit early for tax time -- for some people, but it's never too early to tell you about options to save money. The new myRA from the United States Department of Treasury is a personal retirement savings account that has many benefits. It is safe and easy to set up, it is backed and insured by the U.S. Government, there are no fees or charges, no minimum deposits required, and perhaps best of all, you can set it up right now -- it is that simple and fast.
Let me be clear, myRA is not a magic tax-saving loophole or the greatest retirement vehicle under the stars. What it is, however, is an easy to fund and easy to monitor way for taxpayers who might not have access to a company 401k or other retirement plan to start saving for retirement. Even if you are already saving for retirement, myRA is a good way to supplement other savings you are already doing -- you would just need to watch out for your contribution limit.
The myRA may not be for everyone, as it is clearly a savings program for moderate and middle-income taxpayers, but having said that, it does make sense for millions of Americans who have not started saving or are not saving enough. Other than safe, quick, and easy, here is what stands out about myRa. You can set up automatic contributions, it is not tied to your job, and you can take out the investment -- not the interest -- at any time without paying taxes or penalties.
By now, I hope I've got you wondering how you open one yourself. Simply have your SSN, government-issued ID (unexpired), your beneficiaries birth date and SSN, and, if you want to do automatic contributions or use direct debit for the initial funding then your bank routing number and account number (which is printed on the bottom of your checks) available, then, go to myRA.gov and enter your information. Having all the information ready means you won't begin your application, realize you are missing something you need, and have the session time-out for security purposes.
Shortly after you complete the application, you will need to go back in and set up your personal profile with login name and password and other contact information to get updates, statements, check your balance and other typical features that you may use from time to time. By the way, I did all that too, and it only took another five minutes or so -- did I mention simple and fast?
If you are still on the fence, here are a few more benefits to myRA: it will not lose money, it earns interest until valued at $15,000 or is 30 years from start date, and the interest rate is the same as the variable rate in Government Securities Investment Fund in the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. And, if you cannot start saving right now, then myRA has an option that allows you to fund it from your federal tax refund. And that nifty feature, without stealing any of Oprah's thunder, makes myRA one of my favorite things, savings and taxes all rolled into one.
Oh, and for added incentive -- if you make myRA contributions you may be eligible for the Savers' Tax Credit depending on your filing status, earnings, and other eligibility requirements. I will cover the details in another blog, but if you want more info right now, check out myRA.gov/roth-ira.
It is your money -- keep more of it.