A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that retirement anxiety isn't just for the young at heart.
Younger Americans in their late 30s are now the group most likely to doubt their ability to retire with dignity, a major shift from three years ago when baby boomers nearing retirement age expressed the greatest worry. Slow economic recovery plays a role in this shift as many younger workers are launching their careers later, which reduces their earnings -- and their ability to save for retirement.
However, the retirement concerns of 30-somethings are largely attributable to the breakdown of America's retirement system. Younger workers are less likely to have access to the traditional defined-benefit pensions, personal savings and Social Security that provided retirement security to previous generations.
This is the case with Karen Conchar, SEIU 512 VA secretary-treasurer, and her daughter Sandra who were featured in a recent Washington Post story on retirement security.
Karen, a retired Virginia state worker, and her husband are comfortable in their recent retirement due to their good union jobs that provided pensions. Her 27-year-old daughter Sandra doesn't have the same peace of mind.
"How the hell do I get ahead? And retirement? Oh, God," says Sandra. "My idea of the American Dream was to be above average. I didn't want to be just average."
It's time for policymakers to strengthen and expand retirement options for workers so every hardworking American has an opportunity to live better than the previous generation. SEIU will continue to hold our elected officials accountable to make sure they protect and strengthen programs that benefit the 99% such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.