By Cynthia Pasquale
More than half of all Americans have saved or invested less than $25,000 for retirement, according to one leading research institute, causing older workers to remain on the job longer or face a lower standard of living. And about $17 billion in retirement savings is lost nationally each year to unscrupulous financial advisers, according to a recent federal report.
To help people learn more about retirement and other transitions, AARP Colorado is developing programs and presentations focused on issues of financial resilience.
Financial security is the topic of a Nov. 17 panel presentation in Englewood organized by AARP Colorado in collaboration with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a nationwide organization that provides educational programs for older learners.
The event, at the Harvest Bible Chapel, 3651 S. Colorado Boulevard, will run from 9:30 to 11 a.m. It’s free, and registration isn’t required.
Moderated by Dominic Dezzutti of Colorado Public Television, the presentation will help participants identify unscrupulous financial advisers who can lead workers to lose as much as 25 percent of their retirement income. Because of such worrisome outcomes, the U.S. Labor Department is considering a rule—strongly advocated by AARP—that would require financial advisers to put the best interests of their clients before profits.
Many older workers are concerned that their savings and income will not be sufficient to carry them through their retirement.
“People need to sit down with a comprehensive financial adviser, not someone who is only focused on investments,” said Ben Moultrie, 67, an AARP Colorado volunteer advocate whose background includes financial planning and wealth management.
Moultrie, of Aurora, said an adviser can help clients calculate future expenses—cost of living, health care and long-term care—and discuss whether retirement is a current option or years away.
“People are nervous about planning for retirement for many reasons,” said Morie Smile, state director of AARP Colorado. “But wherever you are in life, you have to start planning for retirement.”
Expert advice available
AARP Colorado also reaches out to those 50 and older through its Speakers Bureau, whose members—most with expertise in issues important to an aging population—are available to discuss financial issues and other topics.
In addition, AARP offers online tools such as the Retirement Calculator, which estimates how much extra income, if any, retirees will need based on their individual savings, income and lifestyle ( aarp.org/retirementcalculator), as well as a calculator to help determine at what age to claim Social Security ( aarp.org/socialsecuritybenefits).
A.W. Schnellbacher, 74, of Littleton, is a volunteer legislative advocate specializing in Social Security issues, which can often be confusing. During presentations, he lays out options for when to apply for Social Security and how those choices interact with other funding sources and affect tax liabilities.
Another initiative, the Life Reimagined program, is “a 90-minute Checkup that provides an opportunity for people who want to consider a new career or hobby or who want to explore all ideas,” said Jeremiah Mora, AARP Colorado community outreach director.
Many times, participants in the Life Reimagined program have just experienced a transition, such as the death of a family member, losing a job or changing jobs, said Greg Glischinski, 65, of Centennial, a volunteer on the legislative advocacy team and a program coach.
“Sometimes participants are there because they want to get another job or figure out how to keep their skills up so they can be marketable,” he said. “Others have been retired for a while and have played enough golf and are looking for something more meaningful and involved.”
To find out more about upcoming presentations, including those on caregiving, health care and fraud prevention, go to aarp.org/co.
To schedule a presentation or learn about a Life Reimagined Checkup, or to volunteer for the Speakers Bureau, contact Mora at email@example.com or 303-764-5986.
Cynthia Pasquale is a writer living in Denver.