Joint Press

Hearing Examines America's Retirement Crisis


WASHINGTON, DC –  When 63-year old Venice, Florida resident Joanne Jacobsen starting planning for retirement, she believed her promised pension and health benefits would be enough to live out her golden years comfortably.

Those plans were dashed last year when her benefits were all but eliminated by her longtime employer.  Faced with little money in retirement and no health insurance, she was forced to return the workforce to make ends meet.

Jacobsen’s plight is an all-too-familiar story among older Americans today, who face economic realities that make it impossible for many of them to retire on the timeline they hoped.

A number of studies show that for the first time since the Great Depression a majority of Americans are approaching retirement less financially secure than their parents.  From changes in pension plans to health care costs to the recession’s impact on savings and home values, a host of factors are contributing to a seismic decline in retirement prospects.

Today, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging heard from Jacobsen and three retirement experts about the long-term financial landscape for retirees and ways to improve their financial security.  Among other things, they included: educating retirees about the advantages of waiting to claim Social Security benefits and therefore increasing their lifetime income; increasing 401(k) availability for workers; and, expanding access to affordable medical and long-term care coverage.

SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING
State of the American Senior: The Changing Retirement Landscape for Baby Boomers
2:15 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

WITNESSES:

Olivia S. Mitchell, PhD, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Paula A. Calimafde, Chair, Small Business Council of America
Richard W. Johnson, PhD, Senior Fellow and Director, Program on Retirement Policy, The Urban Institute
Joanne Jacobsen, Venice, Florida resident

To watch the hearing, as well as access Member statements and witness testimony click here.