San Antonio financial planner Wendy Kowalik, the President of Predico Partners, says she doesn't think President Obama's idea for a 'MyRA' retirement savings plan for individuals who don't have 401k's or pensions is a 'non starter,' 1200 WOAI news reports.
The President's plan, which was spelled out in last night's State of the Union speech, aims to increase retirement savings by allowing a small percentage of a worker's earnings to be deposited into a special Treasury bill, which would pay a 1% to 3% return. The President says he will use his executive authority to order the Treasury Department to set up the mechanism to start the plan in motion.
As Baby Boomers approach retirement, the figures are scary. The Brookings Institution says more than half of all employed Americans have less than $25,000 saved for retirement, not counting their homes and pensions, and 28% of workers have less than $1,000.
But Kowalik says those Americans aren't saving not due to a lack of available plans, but simply because they don't have the money.
"72% of people have access to a 401k and only about five percent contribute many times," she said. "People just don't feel that they have an extra 3% available, even when they have matching funds available to them."
Kowalik also criticized the MyRA because it would only allow funds to be placed into one investment vehicle, a variation of a treasury bill, similar to the 'G Bill' used for the federal employees retirement plan. They also would not have employer matching like many 401k plans have, and it would not be managed or overseen by the employer.
"Buying treasuries, even with what they're proposing, is really not a good plan for people to really accomplish their retirement savings," she said.
She says if the Obama Administration really wants to help people save for retirement, there are more solid steps that they can take.
"We need to give small business owners tax breaks to encourage them to have 100% of their employees participating in 401k's, or help them find ways to get their employees to participate," Kowalik said.