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AARP on Governor’s ‘Middle Class Recovery Act’: Addressing Looming Savings Crisis Critical for Millions

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3.5 M Could Miss Middle Class Retirement; AARP Urges State-Facilitated Workplace Retirement Savings Option; Backs Proposals to Fight Elder Financial Exploitation

ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today at the conclusion of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s six regional State of the State presentations:

“Governor Cuomo’s ‘Middle Class Recovery Act’ rightly focuses on this struggling group, but AARP urges him to address as well the growing savings crisis that threatens this very same middle class.

“The Governor is justifiably proud of private sector job creation. But he has acknowledged that more than 3.5 million New Yorkers – around half the state’s private sector workforce – can no longer get a pension or 401(k) on the job as fewer companies are able to offer a retirement savings plan.

“The federal government recently cleared a legal path for states to fill this gap. Now is the time for the Governor to act.

“AARP urges the Governor to include in his state budget proposal a strong state-facilitated workplace retirement savings option for New Yorkers who lack access. The best plan is ‘auto enroll,’ where a small percentage of a worker’s paycheck is automatically deposited into a professionally-managed IRA that the worker could take to any new job. The worker could opt out, but studies show up to 90 percent participate.

“This would help millions of New Yorkers save for a financially secure future that would lessen reliance on public assistance. And it would give many small businesses that can’t afford to offer pensions or 401(k)s the ability to provide an invaluable benefit to their employees.

“82 percent of New York Generation Xers and Baby Boomers support the idea, as an AARP NY/Siena College poll found. So do two thirds of the state’s small businesses, according to an AARP survey.

Fighting Elder Financial Exploitation

“AARP supports Governor Cuomo’s proposals to protect older New Yorkers from identity theft and other forms of elder financial exploitation.

“Older New Yorkers work a lifetime to accumulate assets they depend on. And with 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, elder financial abuse is a growing problem.

“AARP co-sponsored document shredding events around the state last year and will do so again after tax filing time to help New Yorkers protect themselves against identity theft. But we need tougher laws and stronger deterrents, too.

“Governor Cuomo is right to propose that state law be modernized to keep pace with the increasing sophistication and magnitude of cybercrime – and combat the devastation it inflicts on New Yorkers’ lives. Imposing tougher penalties the more egregious the crime makes sense and should serve as a deterrent – and AARP is particularly pleased that harsher punishments would be imposed for thefts committed against seniors and the mentally and physically disabled.

“It’s common sense to provide to reverse mortgage holders the same strong foreclosure safeguards already in place for homeowners. And training, certifying and legally empowering bank employees to recognize and halt potential crimes against the elderly is critical.

“AARP looks forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to turn these sensible and effective proposals into law.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.

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