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Workshop: Retirement Reality for Oregon's Over-50 Crowd

June 17, 2011

EUGENE, Ore. – In this economy, it's tough to convince anyone over age 50 that their "golden years" could be golden – but AARP Oregon is going to give it a try, at a workshop June 22-23 in Eugene. It's called "Yes, You Really Can Afford to Retire."

The caveat is, it will only happen with some planning and discipline, according to Joyce DeMonnin, outreach director for AARP Oregon. She says most people have heard about the four pillars of financial security for older adults: Social Security, a pension and savings, health insurance, and earnings if they continue to work. However, she's found that few have "done the math" for their own situations.

"Have you really had a conversation about what your Social Security benefit is going to be, and what your Medicare costs are going to be? For most people, that is a wake-up call – 'There's cost to Medicare?' And in fact, there is actually a premium to Medicare, and that comes directly out of your Social Security check."

She says most baby boomers approaching retirement age have saved between $45,000 and $65,000 to live on in their later years, and only half have pensions or 401-K plans. Those are some of the reasons AARP is advocating strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

AARP Oregon hosts periodic workshops around the state, from financial fitness to job-hunting skills. DeMonnin says they've found the recession has taken its toll on the over-50 worker in Oregon.

"There are still a lot of people being left behind. Over half the people in our workshops have been without work for a year or more. These are people in their 50s - this is the time of life that you're supposed to be making your maximum earnings, and saving everything you can for the future."

Employed or not, she advises boomers to put every option on the table for saving more money, from taking in roommates to retraining for jobs that pay better than those in their current field. In a recent AARP survey of Oregonians over 50, eight out of ten said they are worried about their financial future.

The free workshop is June 22-23, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days. Sponsored by the Successful Aging Institute at Lane Community College, it will be held at River Road Parks & Recreation, 1400 Lake Dr., Eugene. Pre-registration is required, at 541-688-4052.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR