NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Eli Romy works part time in retail at a sporting goods store in downtown Manhattan, but the 31-year-old has high hopes that one day he will earn a better living as a real estate investor flipping houses. Until then, he’s not saving for retirement but rather paying off debt.
“I am not worried as much as I should be about saving money, because I am so worried about the next day rather than the next 30 or 40 years from now,” Romy told MainStreet.
Romy is among the 56% of Millennials who rank saving for retirement in third place behind managing cash flow and getting out of debt.
“The actions employers, employees, the public sector and the financial industry take over the next three to five years will be pivotal to the level of financial security each generation is able to attain,” said Liz Davidson, CEO and founder of Financial Finesse, a financial education service.
Fidelity Investments is doing its part. The mutual fund company announced the launch of a new program that brings the matching feature of the 401(k) plan to its IRA.
“We know an IRA is a great retirement savings tool, helping individuals save more through regular contributions while at the same time taking advantage of long-term tax deferred or tax-free growth,” said Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president for retirement with Fidelity Investments. “But it can sometimes be hard to prioritize putting more today into a savings account designed for tomorrow rather than using that money for more immediate needs.”
That’s why Fidelity has launched an initiative to match up to 10% of the investment of new or existing customers who transfer a Roth, Traditional or Rollover IRA.
“You can open up an IRA and transfer at least $10,000 in funds, which sets the contribution match level,” Brouhard told MainStreet. “New contributions made to the IRA are then matched at the appropriate tier level.”
The match tier is based on the total amount funded within the 60 day registration period and can range from 1% to 10% on subsequent annual contributions up to the $5,500 maximum or $6,500 for those 50 years old and over.
“The money does not have to be transferred in one sum and can certainly come by transferring multiple IRAs,” Brouhard said.
For example, if Romy were to transfer $10,000, the amount of the match would be 1% for all subsequent contributions for three years up to the maximum annual amount. To achieve a 10% match, Romy would need to transfer $500,000 or more.
Although Fidelity is offering free money, critics aren’t impressed with the percentage match.
“By receiving a 1% match on your annual contributions on a $10,000 rollover/transfer, the most you could realize would be $55 per year unless you were over 50 years old and then you could take advantage of the catch-up contribution, which would only net $65,” said John McFarland, certified financial planner and coordinator of the Financial Planning Track at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.
Another downside is the cost of investing within an IRA using Fidelity mutual funds.
“It may be safe to assume that Fidelity would encourage new clients to invest in Fidelity funds, and although they have a fine reputation, the family includes funds with loads and many have total expense ratios in excess of 2%,” McFarland told MainStreet. “This would seem to make the bonus money pale by comparison.”
—Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet