Innovative state solutions to America’s savings crisis are in danger. Federal overreach threatens an important Department of Labor rule that gives states flexibility to help workers save for retirement.
Meet John, a 62-year-old disabled veteran and Maryland resident. Each month after he pays for medications, food, transportation and housing, there isn’t much money left over. What’s more, John’s utility bill is already $130 a month, but some legislators are trying to raise it even higher — even before he flips a single light switch.
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.”
Crisp autumn air reminds me of my elementary school days in Upstate NY – and of my Mom's hard work and dedication. My Mom worked the "vampire shift" at Tommy Tucker bakery – injecting doughnuts with jelly from 9 at night to 5 in the morning. She'd arrive back at home in time to wake my brother, sister and me, cook a hot breakfast and send us off to school. And, every Friday on her pay day, she'd take us to the bank to cash her check and set aside a small portion of pay in a Christmas club savings account. No matter how small the check, she always saved something for the St. Patrick's Church collection basket and something for the future.
How much have you saved for retirement? Five hundred dollars? Five thousand? Fifty thousand? If you have even $5 saved, you’re one step ahead of nearly half of working-age households — who have ZERO saved for retirement.
This weekend we all had the opportunity to celebrate our fathers. As I remembered my Pop — a funny, hardworking, unselfish man — I thought about his devotion to my mom, especially during their later lives when he was her primary caregiver. He shouldered huge responsibilities that I think weighed heavily on his mind.
Debra from New Jersey is on the verge of losing her house to foreclosure because she can’t keep up with paying the bills and helping her mom, who has dementia, remain at home. To keep Mom out of a nursing home, Debra is responsible for taking care of her 24/7. This can be a huge juggling act, involving bathing and dressing, preparing meals, managing medications, coordinating activities and more. Add in full-time employment, and life can become quite complicated, even though Debra hires an aide to stay with Mom while she’s on the job.
Like Billy Joel, I frequently find myself in “A New York State of Mind.” I am a New Yorker — born, raised and educated in the Empire State. Though I no longer live there, I still call it home — which is why I was concerned by the findings of a new AARP survey released last week. The reality is, the New York state of mind is experiencing high anxiety when it comes to saving for retirement — especially Generation X, which started turning 50 this year.
Even with her training as a nurse, family caregiver Joanne Davis says she doesn’t feel equipped to handle certain tasks as she cares for her husband. “I think of people who are in a situation who don’t have that sort of experience and I don’t know how they manage,” she says. And yet, nearly half of the 42 million family caregivers in America perform medical and nursing tasks to care for their loved ones. This can be managing medications, cleaning wounds or feeding tubes, giving injections and more. Most do this all with little or no training.
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