l We begin the new year by welcoming a new generation — Gen X — to AARP, and a new Congress to Washington. If one message came through from November's elections, it is that Americans don't want empty New Year's resolutions; they want New Year's solutions.
At AARP, we will work with the new Congress, private enterprise, nonprofits and all of our members to find solutions. One area we will emphasize is financial resilience.
We want to help create an America where individuals 50-plus have the financial resources and opportunities to match their longer life expectancy. Here's where we will concentrate our efforts.
Social Security is the foundation of retirement income security. For the last two years, we have called upon Congress to lead a national discussion about the future of Social Security. That hasn't happened. So, in 2015 — in conjunction with Social Security's 80th birthday — AARP will initiate a national discussion about how to ensure the program is strengthened and can provide an adequate benefit for today's and tomorrow's beneficiaries. We recognize that it may take time to reach a solution on Social Security's long-term solvency. But if we don't begin the discussion now, the solution will lie further into the future.
Increasing private retirement savings is critical to overall economic growth and to individuals' future income security. Yet millions of Americans either do not have any retirement savings or have saved far less than they will need for an adequate retirement. In 2015, AARP will focus on passing state laws to create tax-deferred payroll deduction saving plans to increase both the number of people who save and the amount they save. We will also increase our efforts to educate all workers on the need to save sufficient amounts for their retirement and how to do it. Payroll deduction combined with automatic enrollment has proved to be an efficient and effective way to achieve these goals.
Almost half of all employees ages 45 to 70 envision working well into their 70s and beyond. For some this is a choice; for others, a necessity. In 2014, we worked to raise awareness of the changes taking place in today's workforce, influence employer perceptions and approaches to 50-plus workers, end age discrimination in the workplace and develop best-in-class skill-building resources oriented to the needs of 50-plus workers.