Happy Birthday, IRAs!
January 1, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) in the United States. Born from the passing of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, IRAs were created to protect workers’ earned company retirement benefits and transfer them to their own retirement accounts, thus the name Individual Retirement Accounts. IRAs also provided an alternative for Americans to save on their own rather than depending entirely on company pensions to fund their retirements. With fewer lifetime employees and increasing mismanagement or underfunding of pension plans, IRAs shifted the financial responsibility and the risk from the employer to the employed. IRAs have proven to serve as a vehicle to give Americans more control over their retirement savings and have become the ultimate retirement savings vehicle as many retirement contribution plan funds end up in IRAs as rollovers from 401(k), 403(b) and other company plans.