AARP and Business Roundtable, late last week, brought together leading scholars, business leaders, lawmakers and Americans from across the nation to address the problems individuals face when trying to plan a financially secure retirement. Growing difficulties such as an inability to save in the workplace and the challenge of balancing today wants vs. preparing for tomorrow's needs were juxtaposed by potential solutions put forth by several experts. Panels addressed the evolution of retirement savings plans and offered strategies for tackling the need for expanded coverage and increased savings.
"There are many good ideas to extend and strengthen pensions," noted John Rother Director of Policy and Strategy at AARP. "Government, employers, and individuals all have a responsibility to act, or we will face an ever more insecure future. The global economy is putting increasing pressure on firms to shift risk to individuals, and too many individuals lack the skills or habits to act prudently. As we heard from the individual stories that began the conference, none of us can predict the course of our life or the challenges we may face, so we must act together to assure greater economic security."
The day opened with stories of four Americans of different ages, backgrounds and from various locations throughout the United States. AARP Prime Time Radio host, Mike Cuthbert, asked panelists a number of questions including, "What have you done so far to ready yourself for retirement?" Carol Spiegelman of New York stated what millions of individuals think everyday, simply put, "We've done everything we can with the resources in front of us, but we're just not sure it will be enough."
As Corporate America, and the needs of employees have changed, so have many companies' approach to offering savings mechanisms. "Education alone is not enough," offered Janet Boyd of Dow Chemical Company. "Employers must make retirement savings a priority. We've done this through automating our 401(k) program, offering balanced investment options for these funds and layering this on top of a defined benefits plan to offer our employees options that can work for their individual needs."
Panelists were recognized for their expertise in not only identifying problems with the current retirement system, but also proposing realistic solutions. During his presentation, Senior Research Fellow David C. John advocated auto IRAs as a way to aid the "roughly 75 million workers in the US working for a company with no retirement plan," he said. Adding that such an initiative, "requires major action." Other panelists addressed proposed changes to Federal Law that would encourage an increase in saving rather than spending.
To view the event in its entirety and for conference materials, statistics and to view the unique stories of individuals featured at the conference please visit: http://www.aarp.org/money/financial_planning/retirement_security_conference/index.html.AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.Business Roundtable
Business Roundtable (www.businessroundtable.org) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent over 40 percent of all corporate income taxes paid. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005. Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with $90 billion in annual research and development spending—nearly half of the total private R&D spending in the U.S.