Averting At-Risk Middle America's Retirement Crisis

Neiser, Brent A.
July 2009
Journal of Financial Planning;Jul2009, Vol. 22 Issue 7, p56
Academic Journal
• At-Risk Middle America is defined as individuals with annualized household incomes of $30000 to $100000. • At-Risk Middle American households often lack the financial resources, preparation, support systems, and protections to carry them through the rest of their lives, and they are particularly vulnerable to the retirement decumulation crisis. • Low savings and high debt among this demographic are contributing to wide- spread bankruptcies. Their tendency not to consult professional advisers and overall low level of financial literacy make this population especially susceptible to financial misfortune. • Financially mentally, and culturally, At-Risk Middle Americans are terribly unprepared to fund their third stage of life. Nor do they benefit from adequate financial education. public policies, and services to promote behavioral change that will assist them in achieving self-sufficiency • Without a collaborative financial literary and social change effort combining the best thinking of financial planners, business, government, employers, and mass media, At-Risk Middle America's uneducated choices and bad decisions in mismanaging their retirement years pose a serious threat to the nation. This paper presents the findings of a NEFE think tank addressing decumulatios issues for this population, the most important of which address eight critical decision zones: work, Social Security, the house, insurance products, defined benefits pensions, defined contribution plans, debt, and fraud. • The paper reviews changes in media attention brought about by recent economic developments, but concludes that, whether by design or default, the specifics of how these households will manage to pay themselves a regular "retirement paycheck" will go unanswered unless we work together to reach At-Risk Middle America, The paper also introduces NEFE's www.decumulation.org as a central resource for consumer's.


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