Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Blog About It: Elder Economic Security" in Full Swing

It's the start of Older Americans Month, and we are beginning May with a day-long blogging event. Check out the videos below and participate by posting a comment!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Encore Opportunity Awards - Now Accepting Nominations

Civic Ventures is recognizing outstanding organizations that are committed to improving the workforce through the hiring of workers over 50. Read below for more information and be sure to nominate an organization that stands out as a clear advocate for elder economic security though the employment of older workers.

Civic Ventures is now accepting nominations for the 2009 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Encore Opportunity Awards to recognize innovative organizations that are effectively tapping the passion and experience of people over 50 to improve society. The Encore Opportunity Awards are for creative nonprofit or public organizations that engage people over 50 in encore careers – doing work that combines continued income with personal meaning and social impact – to accomplish their mission and meet society’s biggest needs. Winners will receive $2,500 and be showcased for their leadership and human resource expertise.In the first year of this program, 10 “breakthrough” organizations were recognized for creating innovative and meaningful social purpose job opportunities for adults over 50.

Read about the award winning organizations in the 2007 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures BreakThrough Award report.

You can find more information about the Encore Opportunity Awards at

Please note the nomination deadline is June 1, 2009.

If you have any questions about the nomination process, feel free to contact Cal at .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Equal Pay Day 2009

Blog for Fair Pay 2009

Equal pay for women is vital, if above all other reasons simply because it is the right thing to do. Women, who do the same work as men, should receive the same compensation. Additionally, unequal pay has a serious affect on women’s ability to be economically secure in retirement. Given that women are usually the ones to jump in and out of the workforce due to care giving responsibilities, they also receive less in Social Security payments once retiring, despite the fact they have earned less already, because of less time in the workforce and unequal pay. Women should not be shortchanged on their income, and thus in retirement, for taking care of their family members who need them.

Even still, women tend to live on average, seven years longer than men and need more financial support in old age to make ends meet. This is another reason equal pay is so important. Though the plight of all retired women struggling to get by would not be solved by equal pay, it would help each of them move closer to economic security. At Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), the Elder Economic Security Initiative is front and center on the issues regarding elder economic security, and the inequalities of women and the long-term affect this has on retirement. Check out the Single Elder Women Fact Sheet for more information about elder women struggling to get by financially.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You've Lost Your Money, Now What?

Many Americans have lost their retirement savings in the stock market due to the economic downturn and many of them are close to retiring and don’t have much time to recuperate. So what are their best options?

A CNN money expert took a shot at answering this question this week and here are a couple suggestions:

· Maintain a long-term investing strategy: Even though you are approaching retirement, your investing strategy still has to be focused on the long-term. But just because you're a few years from retirement doesn't mean you should be adopting the same investing strategy as someone who is investing money for a down payment on a house he or she plans to buy in a few years. Your money, on the other hand, will likely remain invested good 30 or more years after you leave the workforce.

· Aim for a balance of protection and growth: You want to adopt an asset allocation strategy that balances the need to protect your nest egg from big hits from which it will be difficult to recover with the need for enough growth to help you maintain your standard of living throughout what could be a very long retirement.

What we also need to remember however, is that regardless of what savings approach you decide to take, it does take time. For many elders, they need support right now. The funds dispersed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, such as the $250 one-time payment and additional training dollars through SCSEP, must be successfully implemented to help those elders’ in need, while they wait for the stock market to rebound. Additionally, it’s important to have a good idea of what it takes to make ends meet in your community. Varying portions of the country differ tremendously in the cost of living, and the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index provides a county-by county measure for elders.

Friday, April 17, 2009

NYT: Older Workers Need Not Apply

The New York Times asked an almost provocative question on their commentary site this week: “Why do employers shun older workers?” Overwhelming responses forced the site to pick and choose which ones to feature and a few experts put in their two cents, as well.

One perspective not mentioned is that of former blue collar workers unable to work in manual labor after a certain point. For these older workers, extra training is necessary to get them into current skilled positions that are not physically challenging. To help with this dilemma, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is allocating $1 billion from the recovery package in community service grants to help fund training opportunities, and the Senior Community Services Employment Program also will receive additional money to train and employ older workers specifically.

The current workforce culture, in general, is not older-worker friendly and does not provide much schedule flexibility. Older workers are sometimes shunned because of their perceived lack of efficiency and desire for flexible schedules. In reality, older workers perform better than younger workers in a variety of areas, including interpersonal skills and attendance, according to Peter Cappelli, the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School.

Unemployed older workers, who are not economically secure, now more than ever, need jobs with quality wages because of loss of finances in the economic downturn and the limited time to recuperate. Without the change of the workforce culture, though, it will be difficult to meet the needs of older workers, even when they do get hired.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Connecticut Update!

This week, we are delighted to have a post from Emma Mullen, Research Assistant, of the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, our CT state partner!

Read below to find out what's new with the Connecticut Elder Economic Security Initiative.

Greetings from the Connecticut Initiative!

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women is very happy to host the Elder Economic Security Initiative for Connecticut. The Initiative clearly intersects with our three priority areas, keeping Connecticut women free from sex discrimination, promoting economic security, and health and well being throughout the lifespan. Our work is dependent upon the strong partnerships we have with WOW, the Connecticut Commission on Aging, and our many dedicated stakeholders who represent a variety of organizations and geographic locations in Connecticut.

Our official launch was just about a month ago, at The Marvin, an innovative congregate housing facility for older adults. We developed a short program and formally released the Connecticut Elder Economic Security Standard Index (Connecticut Index) and Policy Brief. On hand were community members, aging advocates, Marvin residents, local media, as well as four older women who shared their personal stories. They stole the show as they courageously shared their struggles with chronic disease, family care giving, and a lack of available public supports. These women made it impossible to miss that they represent thousands of other Connecticut women whose lives are reflected in the policy brief’s case studies, and that they live by the numbers in the index.

The Marvin is home to an all day childcare program and an accredited school readiness program. This intergenerational programming greatly benefits both parties. To recognize the relationship between children and older adults, and their needs in a community is to recognize the need for economic security throughout a lifespan. Retirement security can begin with education and continue through career and mid-life as women experience the cumulative effects of the wage gap – where women earn only 77 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts.

Moving forward we are creating materials for a variety of audiences and ages.

· We have developed a bookmark for consumers with specific phone numbers to call for help and more information about income supports.
· We have developed a board game, to educate younger individuals about retirement income needs and to connect consumers to resources in a bright and colorful way.
· We also want to provide new caregivers with resources, thereby targeting mid-life and younger women -- to demonstrate the importance of future planning.

If you have any questions about the initiative in Connecticut, do not hesitate to call Emma Mullen at (860) 240-5291, or email me at We are happy to give presentations on Connecticut findings.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What’s New with MinnEESI

This week, we are delighted to have a post from Marie Nelson, Project Coordinator of the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative at the Minnesota Women's Consortium. Read below to find out what's new with our Minnesota state partner!

The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative (MinnEESI) is working hard to take advantage of a very successful launch. Our February 10, 2009 launch resulted in widespread media coverage and enthusiastic support from Minnesota-based aging experts and organizations.

It’s important to keep the momentum going and MinnEESI is developing new tools and programs to keep the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Minnesota Elder Index) in the spotlight. We are gearing up for a number of presentations that will take place over the next five months for audiences in government, academic, metro and greater Minnesota. Prior to the launch, we worked to develop a coalition of support in the aging community and continue to do so through endorsement requests.

MinnEESI is carefully tracking legislative work on elder issues, particularly on action regarding the renter’s credit and the Communities for a Lifetime Bill. We are in the process of creating an easy-to-use summary of Minnesota Elder Index. This document will allow legislators to easily reference the information for their constituents as well as compare cost of living across Minnesota’s 87 counties. This document will be available shortly.

MinnEESI will continue to increase media presence by writing editorials and sample newsletter articles to elder organizations. In turn, MinnEESI will collect stories reflecting the experiences of elders and caregivers. Our outreach will further develop as we create a train-the-trainers curriculum. This curriculum will expand the network of those who understand the Minnesota Elder Index as a tool for use in venues such as retirement planning, legislative work or financial education. These trainers can then assist new immigrants in understanding the cost of living, high school students in fundamental retirement planning or in helping elders determine if they are ready to retire.

To contact MinnEESI or receive our weekly e-newsletter email Project Coordinator Marie Nelson at or call the Minnesota Women’s Consortium at 651-228-0338. Stay up to date on the MinnEESI blog.