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NYers Bring Concerns for Retirement to the Polls

Most New York Gen Xers and Baby Boomers say they haven't planned a retirement budget, and aren't even sure they'll be able to retire.  (Alex_Koch/Pixabay)
Most New York Gen Xers and Baby Boomers say they haven't planned a retirement budget, and aren't even sure they'll be able to retire. (Alex_Koch/Pixabay)
November 2, 2016

NEW YORK - Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in New York are worried that they may never be able to retire, and that could influence their decisions at the polls next week.

The most recent statewide survey found that New Yorkers ages 35 to 70 are having trouble making ends meet. Sixty percent fear they won't have enough money to maintain their standard of living in retirement, and more than half think the government isn't doing enough to help.

According to Beth Finkel, state director of AARP New York, the Social Security Trust Fund is due to run dry in 2034, which would be a problem nationally as well as for the state, "which means that the next administration and the next Legislature have got to be committed to working on solving for Social Security."

By 57 percent to 31 percent, survey respondents said they think Hillary Clinton would do a better job protecting Social Security than would Donald Trump. While almost 60 percent of Gen Xers said they're not confident that Social Security would be there for them, Finkel said most New Yorkers haven't taken even basic steps to plan for their retirement.

"We found that more than half of both generations had never checked to see what they can expect in Medicare benefits," Finkel said, "and many of them just assume that it will cover their long-term care but it won't."

Fewer than half of all private-sector workers in New York now have employer-sponsored retirement savings programs such as a 401(k) or pension.

Finkel said more than four out of every five New Yorkers would support the creation of a workplace retirement savings program facilitated by the state.

"We hope that next year we're going to hear about the launch of this New York state-facilitated savings program," she said. "Many other states in the country have it, and there's something like close to 30 other states working on it right now."

Finkel emphasized that elected officials need to restore trust by helping New Yorkers save, and safeguarding the benefits they've already earned.

The survey is online at aarp.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY