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Developing a Savings Habit

The findings presented in this report are the result of eight AARP focus groups in which low-income working women between ages 45 and 65 discussed their experiences with saving, the financial barriers confronting them, and their need for meaningful services, information and programs for overcoming these obstacles.

  • One of the biggest challenges is managing cash flow to pay bills without incurring extra fees.
  • As finances become more difficult, women’s focus becomes more immediate – from a vision of the future to living “day to day.”
  • Rapid increases in essential expenses and growing job insecurity increase the difficulty of saving for the future.
  • Retirement is increasingly uncertain and difficult to plan and save for.
  • Women whose income has declined over time feel isolated, are reluctant to go to someone charging fees, and prefer advice based on personal experience.
  • Messages about saving for lower income working women must be grounded in their financial reality; it is, however, vital to maintain a sense of optimism and hope.

Four focus groups in Baltimore on August 29th and 30th and four in Houston on September 6th and 7th, 2006 were conducted for AARP and the AARP Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Circle by Sando and Associates. There were four groups of women ages 45 to 55 and four of women ages 56 to 65 with 8-10 respondents in each group. Further information about the research may be obtained by contacting Jean Koppen of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6311. (79 pages)