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Survey Shows Washingtonians Anxious About Retirement Savings

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SEATTLE – Groups concerned that people aren’t saving for retirement are launching a campaign today to help them find better ways to save.

The “MoneySmarts” campaign, sponsored by AARP, BECU and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, is launching at the Museum of Flight in Seattle and then taking the campaign on the road across Washington. AARP recently surveyed Washingtonians and found that 55 percent are anxious about their financial security after retirement.

Jean Chatzky, AARP financial ambassador and financial editor for NBC’s “Today” show, said that while markets have recovered from the recent recession, many people haven’t.

“When you look at the stock market, when you look at the main indexes – the S&P, the Dow – they’re up 180, over 200 percent in some cases, since the bottom in 2009,” she said. “But many, many people have been sitting on the sidelines and it means they haven’t capitalized on that.”

Chatzky said about two-thirds of people still are recovering from the Great Recession. She will be the keynote speaker at today’s MoneySmarts campaign kickoff.

The survey also found that almost half of Washington adults have saved less than $25,000 for retirement, and that two-thirds never have calculated how much they need for retirement. According to Fidelity Investments, Chatzky said, you should have 10 times your annual income saved if you plan to retire at age 67. She added, however, that that number shouldn’t freak people out, and there are ways to make up the shortfall.

“You can save a little more now by starting to scale back a little bit sooner,” she said, “maybe downsizing before you thought you were going to downsize, or continuing to work a bit longer and putting off taking Social Security.”

Chatzky added that retirement plans at work are another useful tool for saving. Next year, the Evergreen State will become the first state to set up a “Small Business Retirement Marketplace,” which Chatzky said should make retirement plans more available for small-business owners who typically have a hard time affording plans.

“Companies with fewer than 100 employees will have access to lower-cost marketplace retirement plans for the people in their workforce,” she said, “which should make these set-it-and-forget-it-type retirement plans much more affordable and much more prolific.”

The survey is available online at aarp.org.

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Eric Tegethoff
Eric Tegethoff
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Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.

Eric Tegethoff

Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.

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