Bridges Summer 2014

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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I N D E X T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K o f S T . L O U I S | C E N T R A L T O A M E R I C A ' S E C O N O M Y S U M M E R 2 0 1 4 5 7 10 RISE to the Challenge: Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Louisville Creating Opportunity Pathways for Asset Development: The Role of Participatory Problem Solving in the Mississippi Delta CDAC Spotlight: Redefining Historic Preservation By Jeanne C. Marra C onventional wisdom and data reveal that accumulating assets and building wealth over the life course—sometimes called the "cradle- to-grave" approach—yields the most desirable financial outcomes. Yet for many Americans, having enough income to set aside for key stages of life, such as homeownership, higher educa- tion and retirement, poses a significant challenge, especially when navigating economic downtowns as many are doing today. Many individuals, espe- cially those from low- and moderate- income (LMI) households, must neces- sarily make reluctant but deliberate choices to meet short-term needs at the expense of long-term goals. Many Americans Unprepared for Retirement e unfortunate results of these choices are evident in the data. According to the Federal Reserve Board's recent publication, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2013, 31 percent of Treasury's myRA To Debut in Late 2014 New Retirement Savings Program Will Provide Safe, No-Fee Starter Accounts respondents in a national study reported having no retirement savings or pension, and more than half (54 percent) of those with incomes under $25,000 reported the same. Com- pounding this lack of preparedness is the reality that many employees (35 percent) in the U.S. who work for private companies also lack access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, access isn't provided evenly across all wage- earners. While 85 percent of those in the highest wage-earning quartile had access to retirement plans, only 38 percent of those in the lowest quartile had access in 2014. myRAs To Help Improve Access, Fill Market Gaps In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama announced that the Treasury Department was developing a new way for workers to start saving for the future. Expected to begin rolling out later this year, the >> continued on Page 4 myRA: My Retirement Account What will it be? • myRA will have no cost to open, no fees, and will never go down in value. Individuals will be able to contribute to their accounts every payday. • Expected to begin rolling out in late 2014. Who will it be for? • American workers who want to start saving for retirement. • Employers who want to make a retirement savings program available to their employees with a simple, one-time setup. Employers will have no fiduciary responsibilities. Graphics courtesy U.S. Treasury. See the full infographic at

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