Almost 70 percent of Oklahomans feel anxious about having enough money for retirement, according to a recent AARP Oklahoma statewide survey of registered voters in Oklahoma, ages 25-64. Only 10 percent of respondents reported they feel ahead of schedule for retirement.
“Oklahomans are working hard, but many do not have a way to easily save for retirement out of their paycheck,” said AARP Oklahoma State President Joe Ann Vermillion. “The results of this survey show that a secure retirement is still out of reach for many residents. Our survey respondents support Oklahoma state leaders who are proposing to create a pathway that will allow more workers to set aside the money they will need to care for themselves in later years.”
Other key findings of the AARP retirement security survey:
- 79 percent are concerned that increases in their cost-of-living expenses will reduce their standard of living in retirement.
- 87 percent agree that elected officials should support legislation to make saving out of their paycheck easier for workers.
- 82 percent of workers without access to a workplace savings program would take advantage of one if it were available.
A major concern among Oklahoma respondents is that a worsening retirement savings crisis could negatively impact the state budget. 79 percent who responded are concerned that inadequate retirement savings could increase the number of Oklahomans reliant on public assistance programs.
The increasing reliance on Social Security as a main source of income is a further concern for AARP members. Data from the Social Security Administration indicates that more than 35 percent of Oklahomans rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. “While Social Security is an important piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend on alone,” said Vermillion. “Many future retirees are at risk of being unable to meet daily living expenses like medicine, utilities, and rent as they move into their next chapter of life. Our hope is that one’s golden years are the best years of life, not the worst.”
Research conducted by AARP’s Public Policy Institute shows that people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement when they can do so at work. Only 5 percent of workers who do not have an employer-based savings plan to seek one out on their own.
As a result of this survey data and input from Oklahomans, AARP Oklahoma urges state leaders to support The Oklahoma Prosperity Act (Senate Bill 527/HB 2302) during the 2021 legislative session. The Oklahoma Prosperity Act would create a public/private partnership to help businesses offer a method for employees to save for retirement out of their regular paychecks.
To find more information about the survey, as well as a full list of survey questions, visit www.aarp.org/oksavetoretire.