Financial Behaviors Report

Assessing Retirement Needs and Interest in myRa: Findings From the Refund to Savings Initiative

As part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s effort to promote the myRA starter retirement account, we used the Refund to Savings Initiative’s Household Financial Survey to assess low- to moderate-income tax filers’ retirement needs, attitudes towards retirement, and interest in a myRA-type account. We also tested different messaging approaches for promoting myRA. The report found that 32% of survey respondents did not own a retirement account and that lack of money and lack of access to an employer-based account were major impediments to retirement account ownership. The report also found that only 10% to 15% of respondents felt on track to retire comfortably. Several aspects of myRA appealed to respondents including the absence of a minimum balance and the absence of penalties for early withdrawal. Additionally, a simple, direct, informational approach to promotional messaging proved more effective than personal messaging at driving interest in myRA.

Project:  Refund to Savings


Roll, S. P., Oliphant, J. E., Perantie, D. C., Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Davison, G. (2017). Assessing retirement needs and interest in myRA: Findings from the Refund to Savings Initiative (CSD Research Report No. 17-16). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.