On Friday Congress passed and the President signed legislation that will prevent another partial government shutdown like the one last month that captured headlines for weeks. But beyond the headlines, the shutdown also served as a very public reminder of a widespread reality in urgent need of solutions: far too many American families are a paycheck away from financial distress.
From creating a trailblazing initiative that trains bank employees to identify and report suspected financial exploitation, to shining the light on the detrimental health effects and high costs of social isolation, AARP’s Public Policy Institute kept a frenetic pace in 2018, underscoring its identity as a leading “think-and-do” tank. Throughout the year, PPI researched, crunched data and analyzed critical policy issues facing older adults and presented solutions and findings here.
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents. That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
This week at FinCon18 we’re showcasing the many programs and efforts that we have to help Americans plan for – and ideally achieve – a secure retirement. AARP’s Financial Ambassador, Jean Chatzky, is even delivering a powerful keynote at the conference on big themes in personal finance over the next decade. With that in mind, I got to thinking about big themes for women in particular. The ever-changing role of American women has been front and center the past few years. You can see that just by looking at the historic numbers of women running for office this year and the record-breaking number of women-owned businesses. But you know what isn’t changing? The fact that women are more likely to face poverty than men during retirement, especially black women and Latinas. Women face an uphill battle when it comes to their future financial security. On average, women live longer than men, so their retirement savings need to stretch farther into the future. On top of that, their wages tend to be lower, making it more challenging to save and their future Social Security benefits even smaller. What’s more, many take time out of the workforce (or turn to alternative work plans like part-time or contracting) to provide care for children, elderly parents and other loved ones. All of these factors make it even harder for women to grow the savings they need for a bright and secure future. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend on. Yet, so many women age 65+ rely on Social Security for nearly all of their family income:
My Pop was fond of sharing this Irish Blessing with us – May there always be work for your hands to do. May your purse always hold a coin or two. We’re all searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Most of the time, though, we aren’t lucky enough to just find it; we have to put our time, energy, and determination into earning it. Unfortunately, many Americans who work tirelessly throughout their lives have no way to save for retirement at work.How many? 55 million. These employees often work for small businesses that don’t offer traditional retirement plans, citing high costs and administrative burdens. Yet, national research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so at work.That’s why AARP is pushing for Work and Save; state-sponsored retirement programs that make it easier for businesses to offer retirement options for employees – and for employees to take charge of their financial futures. As we’re starting to see in states across the country, Work and Save is a win-win for employers and employees.State Work and Save ProgramsIn 2017, Oregon was the first-in-the-nation to launch this innovative solution that lets employees save for retirement through payroll deductions, without any ongoing fees or risks for the employer. Since the launch of OregonSaves, about 4,500 Oregonians have already put away a total of nearly $1 million. See more here.Other states are following suit – eight other states have already passed various Work and Save legislation including: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington.A Glimpse Across the StatesHawaiiThe Senate Ways and Means Committee recently advanced a bill that takes the first step to create a Work and Save option for employers.
In a statement today following the release of the White House proposed budget, AARP Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond opposed cuts that would harm American families:
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I realize how fortunate I am to walk in the footsteps of Ethel Percy Andrus, who founded AARP in 1958, the year I was born. As I seek to “ disrupt aging” — to change the conversation in this country about what it means to grow older — I often think about the enormous challenges she faced as she sought to bring about social change during her time.
Meet Jeff and Capi Saxton. Jeff is a bookbinder and Capi manages a small fabric and sewing supply store. Now in their 50s, they’ve found it hard to save for retirement. “There will be no retirement for me,” Jeff says. “I’ll always have to work.”
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