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AARP Research

2014 AARP Legislative Issues Survey of West Virginia Residents Age 45 and Older

AARP West Virginia commissioned this survey of residents age 45 and older to gauge their opinions on the issues of retirement/state pensions, financial exploitation and caregiving issues. While many employers offer a defined contribution plan, respondents state that they are feeling anxious about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Additionally, many wish that they had more money put away for their retirement. If there were a state-run retirement plan available to West Virginia residents, respondents say that they would want it to be portable, low in cost to participants, and accessible to everyone in the state. 

There is support for additional measures to protect older adults from financial exploitation. One such measure is to broaden the definition of elder abuse. The current definition of elder abuse includes financial exploitation as a form of abuse, but prosecuting alleged abusers is difficult for many reasons, including fear, shame or lack of training of law enforcement staff and prosecutors. Residents in West Virginia are in support of such things as increasing civil and criminal penalties.

When it comes to caregiving, many respondents have either provided care in the past, or are currently providing care. Often times, the person they are caring for is over 50 years old. Respondents themselves would prefer to have care at home if they need it. Additionally, having services in the community that promote independent living is important to respondents, as is having funding available for these services.

Key findings include:

  • 67 percent of West Virginia residents age 45 and older say they feel very or somewhat anxious about having enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years. 45 percent also say that they are not very or not at all satisfied with their savings, and 86 percent wished they had more saved.
  • 71 percent of employed West Virginia residents age 45 and older take advantage of a defined contribution plan. Of those whose employers do not provide a plan, 68 percent say they would contribute if it were offered.
  • 65 percent of respondents would strongly or somewhat support a state-run retirement plan that was voluntary, flexible and professionally managed. If the plan was similar to a 529 college savings plan, 70 percent of respondents would strongly or somewhat support it.
  • Broadening the definition of financial exploitation is also supported by West Virginia residents age 45 and older. In fact, 83 percent strongly or somewhat support increasing civil and criminal penalties for financial exploitation crimes.

This AARP Survey resulted in telephone interviews with a sample of 802 respondents aged 45+ who are residents of West Virginia. The interviews were conducted in English on landlinetelephones by Woelfel Research, Inc. from November 23 – December 14, 2013. The results from the study were weighted by age and gender. For more information, contact Cassandra Burton at ccantave@aarp.org.


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