AARP-WA Kicks Off Statewide Savings Seminars
Wage Gap Persists in Washington, U.S.
(Public News Service) REDMOND, Wash. - For people in their 40s and above in Washington state, the "new math" may involve changing their target retirement age from 65 to...never. At a financial fitness seminar in Redmond on Wednesday, AARP Washington shared sobering new survey results: One in four Washingtonians age 45 and older has saved less than $25,000 for retirement, and one in five has less than $5,000 in savings.
Doug Shadel, AARP Washington state director, noted that most respondents said they tried to spend less in the past year, but more than half could not manage it.
"We asked people to grade themselves 'A' through 'F' - how have you done in planning for your future? Over half of the respondents gave themselves a grade of 'C' or lower. So, people know that they're not doing enough for their future. The question is, what are the barriers?", Shadel asked.
Shadel listed multiple hurdles to saving at midlife, from rising health-care costs to supporting other generations, to lack of willpower. He said AARP is holding seminars around the state - called "Strengthening Your Financial Future" - to try to address them. They are coming up this weekend in Seattle, on May 15 in Port Angeles, and in June in Auburn and Spokane.
One of the common myths is that people will be able to cut back and live modestly on whatever they get from Social Security. Shadel said that is wishful thinking, in the absence of a more realistic plan.
"Social Security was never intended to pay for everything, for everyone in retirement. It was really just a safety net - and it's really true now, because the cost of health care, the cost of everything going up. People are going to need to do their part to save for the future."
The survey also asked people how much time they spend using their willpower to resist temptations that might cause overspending. Most said about 15 minutes a day, but research has shown it is more like three to four hours a day. Shadel surmised that people might just be making bad financial choices because they are too worn out in the present to think about the future.
Survey and seminar information is available at www.aarp.org/wa.