The President's actions following his final State of the Union will have an impact on the 50-plus set in the many years after he finishes his second term. Here are four takeaways for you and your family to keep an eye on in the future:
ONE -- The Important Rule That Could Save Consumers $17 Billion a Year
Last night the President said, "For everyone else, especially folks in their forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher. But they shouldn't lose what they've already worked so hard to build." One of the most immediate pending action items for the President is the proposed rule to close the loophole on conflicted investment advice. The rule would require financial advisers who don't already do so to adhere to a standard that demands advice in the best interest of their client. The White House estimates closing this loophole could save retirement savers about $17 billion per year, which all Americans, especially those trying hard to save for the future, can use.
It is our belief that the proposed rule will move ahead in the President's final year to give Americans better access to the advice they deserve.
TWO -- Social Security and Medicare
While the President did not discuss specifics around Social Security and Medicare he said "That's why Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever; we shouldn't weaken them, we should strengthen them."
Medicare and Social Security are two of the most popular and successful government programs ever created. Our next President will need to take steps to strengthen these programs, and in particular we are asking candidates to take a stand on how they'd update Social Security to ensure its solvency and adequacy. Our volunteers and staff will be working hard to get the presidential candidates to talk about Social Security and provide specifics during the campaign.
THREE -- Retirement Accounts
It's no secret that Americans aren't saving enough to be able to afford a comfortable retirement and one reason for this is lack of easy access to retirement savings vehicles. Right now 55 million Americans don't have a workplace savings plan and we're working to change that on the state and federal levels. The President said "And even if he's going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him. That's the way we make the new economy work better for everyone."
We agree with the President that Americans should have portable vehicles that they can take with them from job to job and want to see increased access to savings vehicles. Another pending proposed rule will encourage greater efforts to expand coverage at the state level.
FOUR -- Working Together
The President spoke a great deal about compromise and working together ... AARP will continue our efforts to work with the President and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to get things done, especially in the key areas of financial and health security. With the support of our members, volunteers, and the public, we'll continue to advocate for those policies that help all Americans as they age, in 2016 and beyond.
The President said "There are a whole lot of folks in this chamber who would like to see more cooperation, a more elevated debate in Washington, but feel trapped by the demands of getting elected. I know; you've told me. And if we want a better politics, it's not enough to just change a Congressman or a Senator or even a President; we have to change the system to reflect our better selves."
One example of how we're bridging party lines for our "better selves" is AARP's continued work on family Caregiving. AARP is working with governors, state legislators, and community partners to help older Americans live independently -- and fight for the family caregivers who safely help them stay in their homes as they age. We're also celebrating those who help older parents, spouses and other loved ones to remain in their homes with I Heart Caregivers.