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NYSNYS NEWS: AARP issues grim report on retirement prospects of many New York workers.
NYSNYS NEWS: AARP issues grim report on retirement prospects of many New York workers.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 20) AARP issued a grim report on retirement Wednesday, saying New York faces a crisis resulting from the elimination of private sector pensions, scant savings, and the possibility seniors will have to go on welfare to make ends meet.

As bad enough as the situation is for baby boomers aged 51-69, AARP said it is even worse for those in "Generation X," aged 35-50.

"It's really dreadful," AARP NY Director Beth Finkel said, citing the survey's findings that about a quarter of all private sector workers between 35-61 are not confident they will ever be able to afford retirement.

To counter the crisis, AARP has endorsed a "state-facilitated retirement savings option," which would not require taxpayer money but would offer saving incentives like the 401-k retirement and 529 college savings plans do. She said other states, including Illinois and Washington, have shown such a plan could work.

"There's plenty of examples," Finkel said. "It would be great if New York was the next state on board. We've got to get rid of this anxiety gap. It's scary for people."

Finkel said AARP survey found about 3.6 million private sector workers in New York 54 percent of the total have no pensions or retirement savings plans available to them. Additionally, 30 percent of New York Gen Xers and 38 percent of boomers have no retirement savings of any kind.

The survey did not differentiate between public and private sector workers. Taxpayer-paid pension benefits continue to be universally available and generous to state and local government employees, including school district workers, though they have been scaled back slightly for new workers.

Finkel said 66 percent of Gen X workers said they expected to move out of New York at retirement age, compared to 55 percent of boomers.

AARP issued the report entitled "High Anxiety: Gen X and Boomers Struggle with Stress, Savings and Security" Wednesday at a forum here. The report "found overwhelming majorities worry about not saving or planning enough for retirement and with good reason, since about a third have no retirement savings at all. To make matters worse, a third have neither a work-sponsored nor a personal retirement savings plan.

"AARP NY is proposing a state-facilitated retirement savings option, with no ongoing taxpayer costs, that could help millions of New Yorkers help themselves achieve financial independence in retirement and avoid the need for expensive, taxpayer-funded public assistance."