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As the presidential election heats up, we’re bound to hear a lot from all sides about Social Security. But whatever your political stripes, there’s no getting around the fact that Social Security is critical for the majority of retirees, maybe more so now than ever. An AARP survey last week found 60 percent of voters 50 and older plan to rely on Social Security in retirement even more because of the economic downtown. And 91 percent agree that the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security to keep it solvent for future generations.

“With fewer jobs offering pensions and people struggling to save for retirement, Social Security will be even more important for younger generations,” said AARP President Rob Romasco, noting that more than one in three working households age 21 to 64 has no individual savings set aside for retirement.

This week marks the 77th anniversary of Social Security, and AARP is using the opportunity to encourage discussion about the program’s future. Romasco will host a live Web chat at 12:30 p.m. today to answer questions about Social Security and how we can make sure future generations receive the full benefits they’ve earned.

AARP is also continuing its “You’ve Earned a Say” national tour this week, with stops in Springfield, Ill.; Billings, Mont.; Sedalia, Mo.; Cincinnati; and Des Moines, Iowa. The You’ve Earned a Say campaign, launched this year, aims to ensure that the national conversation on Social Security takes into account the voices of as many Americans as possible — not just those who speak the loudest, and not just behind closed congressional doors. You can visit AARP’s ‘Strengthening Social Security’ tool to learn more about the proposals on the table in Washington and vote for which make the most sense to you.

Tuesday Quick Hits: 

  • Shacking up. More couples in their 50s and beyond are choosing to live together without getting married, according to a new study. The number of unmarried Americans over 50 living together more than doubled in the past decade, from 1.2 million in 2000 to 2.75 million in 2010.
  • Endless summerKings Point, a new documentary about a Florida retirement resort, finds life there is far from “summer camp for old people.” Said filmmaker Sari Gilman: “All of a sudden, everyone was going to the doctor instead of going to the clubhouse, but people didn’t want to hear the other person complain … When I turned my camera on, they seemed very eager to have someone listen to them.”
  • Big in the Midwest. A new study finds 26 of the 30 states with the highest obesity rates are in the Midwest and the South. Mississippi had the highest obesity rate (34.9 percent), while Colorado had the lowest (20.7 percent). Twelve states have an obesity rate higher than 30 percent.
  • Boomers take most vacation time. About 60 percent of boomers took all their vacation time last year, but less than half of millenials did, according to the 2012 Relaxation Report.

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