Many of us only pay attention to politics every four years, during the Presidential election season. But the truth is that progress is happening all the time, particularly with regard to state-by-state changes. In fact, things that happen on a statewide level usually affect us as much, if not more, than national policy changes!
With that idea in mind, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has announced that they will lobby state legislators for the following changes this year. Keep in mind that these trends won’t necessarily become law, but do reflect growing awareness of the needs of retired persons. We could probably expect to see these issues evolving over the next few years, as Baby Boomers age into retirement.
Work-based retirement plans. Currently, 55 million American workers cannot access a work-based retirement savings plan such as a 401(k). We are seeing many proposed changes in that arena, that will hopefully allow smaller businesses to offer retirement plans to their employees.
Affordable utilities for retirees. When you’re living on a fixed retirement income, fluctuations in utility bills can lead to financial hardship. Lobbyists continually push for affordable options for senior citizens and the disabled.
Greater community-based services for retirees. Many seniors want to stay in their own homes as long as possible, but lack community and home-based supports they need. This issue is receiving greater attention lately, with politicians and community leaders focusing on expanding quality of life for retirees.
Support for family caregivers. Approximately 40 million Americans provide caregiving for a spouse, aging parent, or other relative. Congress actually just passed the RAISE Caregivers Act, aimed at providing greater supports for caregivers of seniors and disabled people, but it is likely we will continue seeing this trend expand as it reaches state legislatures. The AARP in particular is pushing for tax credits, community-based respite care, and workplace flexibility options for caregivers.
As always, we will also continue to watch for reforms to programs like Social Security and Medicare. We will endeavor to keep you informed of changes that might affect you, but in the meantime remember to schedule regular appointments with us to discuss your retirement plans.