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10-Year Look Ahead on Aging: Retirement Security "Key"

Preparations are under way for the White House Conference on Aging. New Hampshire advocates hope that retirement security will be top-of-mind, especially when about half of Americans approaching retirement age have no savings. Credit: Mike Clifford
Preparations are under way for the White House Conference on Aging. New Hampshire advocates hope that retirement security will be top-of-mind, especially when about half of Americans approaching retirement age have no savings. Credit: Mike Clifford
June 22, 2015

CONCORD, N. H. – It's a ten-year look ahead on aging issues, and New Hampshire advocates expect retirement security to be key at next month's White House Conference on Aging.

Stephen Gorin, executive director, New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, took part in a regional meeting in Boston where advocates traded ideas in preparation for the White House Conference.

He says there was overwhelming agreement that Social Security plays a critical role in keeping older Americans afloat financially.

"Social Security is particularly important for people with the lowest incomes in the aging population," says Gorin. "But we need to increase Social Security benefits across the board."

A recent report by the General Accounting Office finds about half of American households approaching retirement age have no savings to depend on for their retirement years.

Gorin says the GAO report found that, for those American households 55 and over that had managed to save, the median savings amount was $104,000.

"New Hampshire does have a growing older population, and many of them rely on Social Security," he explains. "Many of them have some retirement savings, but it's just not enough to carry them through. Many people will live into their 90s – and they just don't have the savings that they would need to live on."

President John F. Kennedy hosted the first White House Conference on Aging, which got the ball rolling for establishment of the Medicaid program in 1965. Gorin says he hopes this year's conference will address older Americans' worries about how they can navigate their retirement.

"These are held every ten years to address the needs of our aging population," he notes. "Out of this one, in July, we'll probably come to the same conclusion: a burning need that many people face is retirement security. Pensions have gone away. The only thing that's left, really, is Social Security."

The White House Conference on Aging kicks off on July 13.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH