- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Most Americans are not saving enough money for retirement, and Bob Dole is trying to do something about it.
Mr. Dole, the former Kansas senator and Republican presidential candidate, is spearheading the national "retirement readiness" campaign, targeting the 76 million baby boomers approaching retirement.
Consider this: The average American needs to save at least $230,000 to be able to draw $1,000 a month to supplement Social Security benefits and fund a comfortable retirement.
Now consider this: Less than a third of American workers have saved $100,000 or more for retirement.
Consumer advocates call the disparity a "national crisis" and are banding together to encourage Americans to save more.
"Most people save for their vacation or a new car. But most don't save for their retirement," Mr. Dole said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Mr. Dole said far too many Americans think they can get by in retirement on Social Security alone. But the average benefit is likely to be just $900 a month, and fewer and fewer Americans have company pensions to supplement that.
"Our message is that you have to take more responsibility on yourself," Mr. Dole said.
He said that saving is especially important because Americans are healthier and living longer, so they have more retirement years to fund.
"It's about dignity, about living longer productive lives," Mr. Dole said. "It's about empowerment."
The campaign, titled "Retire on your terms," will include a number of activities designed to help people increase their savings and learn how to manage their money in retirement, said Mark Mackey, who is leading the national program for six financial associations and consumer groups.
The coalition is sponsoring a series of public service radio and TV spots featuring Mr. Dole that are to begin airing this week. They've created a Web site, www.retireonyourterms.org, where visitors can run savings calculators and learn where to get financial planning advice. Starting next year, members of the coalition will hold a series of free seminars nationwide.
Seeking help is important since declines in the stock market have decimated the savings of many, while low interest rates hurt retirees living on fixed incomes, said Mr. Mackey, president of the National Association for Variable Annuities.
"Part of the problem is that people don't know what to do," he said. "This can be complicated stuff. There are a range of people who can provide advice: brokers, bankers, financial planners, insurance agents. People need to ask for help if they need it."


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