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Many Monroe County Residents Struggle With Finances, Retirement Planning, According to Survey

AARP New York/Siena College

Money concerns are weighing heavily on the minds of Monroe County Baby Boomers and members of Generation X, according to a new survey from AARP and Siena College.

Many of them 603 Monroe County residents between the ages of 36 and 70 who participated in the telephone survey said they are plagued by financial uncertainty.

45 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of Boomers said they are either just getting by or finding it difficult to manage the costs of daily life.

"We've called this the vanishing middle class for a good reason,” said David McNally, director of governmental affairs and advocacy for AARP in New York. “We're seeing a lot of concern over their ability to pay for utilities, food, and housing. That's obviously directing their ability to save for the future and have a financially secure retirement."

Almost four out of ten Monroe County Boomers and  nearly a quarter of Gen Xers expect to rely on Social Security to cover most of their retirement costs, but more than half ( 55 % ) of Gen Xers and almost a quarter ( 24% ) of Boomers aren’t confident that they will get the full Social Security benefits they have been promised.

"We're seeing that a lot of people haven't put to paper their financial current situation and what they need for the future,” McNally said. “We know there are few people who have looked into Social Security. Even fewer know what to expect from Medicare and their out-of-pocket health care costs. The lack of planning is steering us toward a retirement crisis for these generations."

49 percent of survey respondents from both generations said they think Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would do a better job of protecting Social Security than Republican candidate Donald Trump.  32 percent of Boomers and 31 percent of Gen Xers believe Trump would do a better job of addressing Social Security concerns.

"We’ve not heard enough from the presidential candidates about (Social Security)”, McNally said. “We have been pressing them all during the election to talk more about their plans and commit to taking action."

McNally said AARP supports state-backed retirement savings plans in the workplace. The U.S. Labor Department recently issued a ruling allowing states to enact retirement savings for workers. Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed the NY SMART Commission to study the issue.