Spotlight on retirement helps public
National Retirement Security Week, “a national effort to raise public awareness about the importance of saving for retirement,” just finished. First established in 2006, the goal is to elevate public knowledge about retirement savings.
Of course, I’m a believer in this cause. Anything that helps to shine a spotlight on retirement security is a priority and passion of mine. There is a reason: Statistics tell a sad story. Not enough people start to save early enough in their careers. Not enough retirees are secure in knowing they will not outlive their money.
According to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, close to 40 percent of American workers are not saving for retirement.
Those who do save don’t save enough to adequately fund their retirement years — 24 percent have less than $1,000 in savings. Only 1 in 10 has prepared a retirement plan.
Why is this the state of retirement savings?
The inside story is welltold — all you have to do is read the Senate’s 2018 resolution (S. Res. 654), which I am adapting here. I’m sure you’ll agree that the topic is one that needs to be addressed and advocated by all:
People in the U.S. are living longer.
The cost of retirement is increasing significantly.
Social Security was never intended by Congress to be the sole source of retirement income for families.
Many workers may not be aware of the various options in saving for retirement.
Many workers may not have focused on the importance of, and need for, saving for retirement and successfully achieving retirement security.
Although many employees have access to employer plans to assist them to prepare for retirement, many may not be taking advantage of those plans at all or to the full extent allowed by law.
Given this state of affairs, what actions can you take right now to help advocate?
Try just this one action: Identify a young person you know, such as a child, grandchild, friend or colleague who just started to work. Ask the person if he or she has a retirement plan at work. If so, here are a list of additional questions:
1) What’s the benefit of participating in the company’s plan?
2) If the company contributes to employees’ accounts, what do you have to do to maximize the company’s contribution?
3) What’s stopping you from participating?
4) If you can’t afford to contribute, why not?
5) If you have competing demands (such as student loans), how are you prioritizing?
6) Does that mean you won’t want to retire someday? Or do you think someone will pay you to retire?
7) What’s your plan? (You won’t be able to move in with me.)
Let me know how the conversation goes.
By the way, I’m thinking of sponsoring an award to encourage this type of advocacy with those who are just starting their careers. I’d like to know your thoughts. Would it be worthwhile? Would companies help promote the award? Let me know by emailing me at readers@ juliejason.com.
If you will be in New York City, do come to a presentation I’m giving on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y. I will discuss my latest book, “Retire Securely.” Register at 92y.org/ event/retire-securely.
Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford) and author, welcomes your questions/comments (firstname.lastname@example.org). Her awards include the 2018 Clarion Award, symbolizing excellence in clear, concise communications. Her latest book, a curated collection of Julie’s columns, is “Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management From an Award-Winning Financial Columnist.” To hear Julie speak, visit www.juliejason.com/events.