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North Carolina University and State AARP Partner in Retirement Initiative

PHOTO: AARP North Carolina will be working with UNC Wilmington to offer forums and workshops for older North Carolinians in order to help them prepare for retirement. Photo courtesy of AARP.
PHOTO: AARP North Carolina will be working with UNC Wilmington to offer forums and workshops for older North Carolinians in order to help them prepare for retirement. Photo courtesy of AARP.
October 9, 2014

WILMINGTON, N.C. - AARP North Carolina joined the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) this week to announce a long-term initiative to raise awareness and propose solutions to the challenges facing the state's 50-plus population in retirement.

According Jody Holtzman, AARP Senior Vice President of Thought Leadership, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians age 50 and older provide an economic boom, rather than an economic drain on the state's economy.

"When you look at it that way, you start to see that actually there's a different story to tell, and it's not a story of unaffordable costs and financial burdens," he says. "It's actually a story of opportunity."

Holtzman says older North Carolinians make up 34 percent of the population, but contribute to 40 percent of the GDP. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, more than $45 billion of Social Security income is spent in North Carolina annually, generating more than $2 billion in tax revenue.

UNCW will host a series of workshops and lectures to help the aging population better plan for the future, and help local leadership appreciate the importance of creating places and services, such as livable communities to support older North Carolinians living independently, and living longer.

Dean Charlie Hardy with the College of Health and Human Services at UNCW says with the large number of older North Carolinians living near their campus, the school is in the perfect position to be a part of the process to help secure a stronger retirement.

"One of the first things we need to be doing is going out to our communities, particularly these 50-plus populations, and asking what they need." says Hardy.

Holtzman adds it's also important for the business community to quantify the economic benefit of keeping older workers on the job, rather than encouraging them to retire or finding a reason to lay them off.

"Too often, businesses view older workers as costing them more because of healthcare costs, but what they ignore is the intellectual capital, the institutional knowledge that walks out the door when those people leave."

The North Carolina Department of Aging and Adult Services predicts the vast majority of the state's 100 counties will have more residents age 60 and over than those under 18 by the year 2020.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC