Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

More Retirement Planning Is Needed

About these ads

WASHINGTON, the corporate sector, and the American public need to focus greater attention on retirement planning (including the politically controversial issue of long-term health care), as the nation's population continues to grow older, say a number of experts on aging and retirement. Yet, many retirement experts add, most individual retirement plans - when they exist at all - are based mainly on social security benefits and traditional passbook savings accounts. Little thought is given to the life style of retirees - or the need for special long-term health care.

``But what we're discovering is that retirement, or growing older, is a different animal altogether than just involving money,'' says Kay Wright, a corporate training specialist with the American Association of Retired Persons in Washington. AARP is a public-interest group representing retired or older Americans.

``Retirement,'' says Ms. Wright, ``involves the use of time, programs designed to aid persons who need special care, as well as actually going back to work.'' Wright says one-third of AARP's 30 million members would like part-time work. ``Most formal corporate retirement programs, however, are based on trying to help people out the door.''

The need for a long-range evaluation of retirement planning has been underscored by several new reports released in recent weeks:

A study by Merrill Lynch & Co. finds that most Americans still do not prepare for retirement adequately; there is a major gap between what workers expect from their retirement years and what they will be able to afford. The lack of realistic planning is shared by corporations. Only about a quarter of all benefits managers at major corporations, for example, say the cost of long-term care is or will be part of company planning during the next five years. Two-thirds of the companies studied do not plan to provide long-term care programs.

Moreover, the study found, most pre-retirees invest in traditional savings plans such as passbook accounts. These are not suited to offset inflation or rising health-care costs, and are invariably inadequate for long-term health-care needs.

One-fifth of the employees studied say they have done little or no retirement planning. Such findings represent a ``warning flag'' about the inadequacy of current retirement planning in the United States, says John Steffens, president of Merrill Lynch Consumer Markets.


Page:   1   |   2

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.