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tv   White House Conference on Aging  CSPAN  August 27, 2015 7:27pm-8:01pm EDT

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caregiver. she takes care of my grandmother and supports her to live independently. takes her to church so she can be in the church senior choir and sing twice a week, so she can play mayjong with her friends. and you don't want to take her on in mah-jongg, by the way. all that is supported by the work of mrs. sun. so i just wanted to recognize her here today. >> i think that is a great note on which to wrap up talking about a great caregiver. i want to thank the panel. i want to thank all of you. i want to take this second to thank the president and the congress miraculously all moving together to pass the national alzheimer's project act. we talk a lot about the division in this government. there was unity there, and we all benefit from that. and i'm grateful to be able to thank them and thank all of you. have a wonderful rest of the conference. [ applause ]
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can you hear me? can you hear me in the back okay? good morning, i'm tom perez. it's an honor to be here. i see a bunch of serial activists in the audience so i know i'm in the right place. so thank you again to our members of congress who are here. thank you to our other leaders who are here. this has been a great morning, and you heard from the boss here. and he's all in. and this is a joint venture. we have a great panel here. so i want to keep moving. you know, when i heard the president say there was a lot of focus on what i call the two ps, promoting access in the retirement space, and the president has been taking action on that. he's directed us to take more action to facilitate that. the treasury department has already taken action on that. and the my ra space --kl
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is diana grady here, by the way? oh, you're in the way back. wow. you got the uecker seat there. okay. diana is a small business owner who encouraged her employees to participate to help strengthen their retirement security. so she has a lot of my r.a. participants. thank you for being a great spokesperson for this. we do this one business at a time. i appreciate your help. and i'm glad that it's working. so we're going to talk more about financial security today. and we've got a fantastic panel of folks who are going to be talking and giving their views. we also have a number of questions. and i actually got a few questions on twitter as well. so we're going to go with them, time permitting. let me introduce our panel very quickly. then i'm going to get right to the first question, which i'm going to ask all of you. our panelists jean chatzky is the financial editor for the nbc
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"today" show and savvy she has a long career in journalism, and has published several books on everybody's favorite topic of financial management and money. she is right here to my right. to my left -- we'll hold the applause, just in the spirit of moving forward on this real quickly. robin diamonte to my far left. she's the chief investment officer of united technologies in hartford. and for me, equally as importantly, in addition to that very important job, she was appointed in 2013 by the president to the pension benefit guarantee corporation advisory committee. and as labor secretary, i have the privilege of chairing the pbgc board. so i spend a lot of time with robin. and it has been a labor of love. and she has educated me a lot. she chairs the pension management advisory committee, which advises the new york stock exchange and the federal reserve of new york markets group on the impact of policies and market
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conditions on institutional investors. as we continue to talk about the importance of state and local government, and as someone who spent a lot of time in state and local government, we're very pleased to have vickie elisa, who is the coordinator for de kalb county board of health in atlanta. she was a 2011 white house community leader on policy issues for seniors. and has an emmy, if i'm not mistaken, for her television production work. having watched you already, i understand why you have an emmy. so we're really pleased to have you. and last, but certainly not least, is a good friend of mine, andy sieg, who is the head of global wealth and retirement solutions for merrill lynch at bank of america. andy has had a stellar career, as all of the panelists have. and his career in finance spans more than 20 years and includes time at the white house working on economic and domestic policy. and in his spare time, which i
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don't think he has much of, he actually serves on the board of that helps students in needy schools develop literacy skills. now i would ask you to give a round of applause to our panelists. [ applause ] i'm going to jump right into the questioning because we have a short period of time. i'm going to ask a question for all of you to answer. then i'm going to ask an individual question of each of you. time permitting, we have a few twitter questions and perhaps some audience questions. the question for the group is this. many people in our country as the president described used to take retirement for granted. you worked 30 years, you would get a pen, a pension and a party. in the defined benefit world of yesteryear. now it seems like fewer assume that they will be able to retire comfortably. what do you see as the most significant barrier to a secure retirement? and i know that you can get into -- this could be a one-hour
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answer for each of you. but if you could focus on what you perhaps see as the most significant barrier. andy, we'll start over here with you and then work our way around. >> thank you, mr. secretary. from our perspective, the first thing we need to wrap our heads around is the fact that retirement itself has been transformed as a concept in our society. i think we heard that from the president. this is now a time of unprecedented opportunities and possibilities but also a lot of risks that families have never before had to deal with and had to manage. and so from our perspective, the barrier we need to overcome is to really expand the way we're thinking about later life in these bonus years. it's not all just about money. this is about how to think about work, and how work's going to factor into later life. it's certainly about health, and cognitive decline and many other health-related issues. and it's how families are dealing with this new dynamic that we're experiencing. and in a minute we're going to talk a bit about how we can address it. we think gerontology and
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gerontological training really needs to be brought into the mainstream of american life. and we'll talk a little bit about that, i'm sure, as the panel continues. >> from my perspective -- is this on? there we go. from my perspective, the biggest barrier is that we're human. and when we ask human beings to plan for retirement, we're asking people to do things that are really the antithesis of human nature. we're asking them to save, which humans are not particularly good at. we're asking them to do it consistently. and life always has a way of surprising you and getting in the way. we're asking people to invest consistently, which means sticking with the markets when the markets aren't a lot of fun. and then we're asking them, once they've accumulated, not to pull the money out and spend it all at once. and so it's a really, really difficult challenge that i work
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with the aarp all the time on trying to educate people how to do all of these things. which nobody's really training us to do. so we're climbing a mountain that previous generations just didn't have to climb. >> thank you. >> when i had an opportunity to attend my first financial literacy workshop 16 years ago, i met cindy hounds who definitely had the tools we needed through mothers voices choices, which has reached out to women in terms of helping them to plan a secure retirem t retirement. and one of the challenges and barriers that definitely makes the dialogue very interesting is the issue of longevity. i've just recently heard that they have changed the category of old old from 90 years old -- from 85 years old to 90 years
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old. and so when you begin to talk to young people, especially women who are representing the millennials, about saving and not outliving your assets, that just seems so far away. i jokingly say that if orange is the new black, then 90 is the new old old. so you never meet any retirees, though, that say that they have saved enough or too much. and so one of the definite critical education pieces that we try to get across to women is your finances, you can always find a way to save. i love the fact that we have the my r.a. in place. no matter what you do, you need to begin the behavior. and once you start that behavior, you want to look at ways that, if you are having critical issues dealing with finances like i did initially, trying to overcome some issues related to debt, trying to reduce that and using the tools, but it's baby steps that will
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eventually get you to where you need to go. baby steps are not bad steps. hopefully they'll get you to feel comfortable with saving, comfortable with the concepts of reducing credit card debt. comfortable with the next step that you need to take as a woman especially because that's who we reach out to through mothers voices is women. comfortable taking those steps that you need to make in order to secure your economic future. and so i'll talk a lot more about some other barriers that we also address, especially as it comes to financial literacy, education, not being a one size fits all model. >> there's a lot of barriers, especially for our young employees. they need to have taken all the financial responsibility now for saving for their retirement. so as the president said, they're not going to have the pension fund that their parents and grandparents enjoyed. they need to think of their
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401(k) not just as a savings plan, but as a retirement plan. they really need to do three things. they need to save early and save more. they need to resist the temptation of taking that money out when they change jobs. and they need to, and this is an easy to have an investment portfolio for their age and circumstance. if they do all of that effectively, what they may have at retirement probably more money than they've ever had in their life and they may feel secure. but here's where i think one of the most critical barriers are is how do you turn that money into a stream of lifetime income so that you don't outlive it? many employees allow their participants to stay in their savings plan after retirement. but unfortunately, employees don't know that. they think they need to leave the plan. and they need to move their assets. and also, in some circumstances, there's aggressive marketing urging them to do so. once they leave their 401(k) plan, it's an irreversible
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decision. and unfortunately, they can't get back in. so once they're out, they may find themselves vulnerable to conflicted investment advice and recommendations that are not in their best interests. so hopefully there will be laws in place in the future to protect them. >> i think someone at the department of labor is doing something about that. phyllis, is that right? i think so. yeah. let me continue with you then, robin. because there's two deminxes to your question -- to the question i have for you. for the people who are -- they do have a 401(k), so what can you do to make sure that when they either retire, or they leave a job, because this is no longer our father's and mother's generation where you work 30 years at the same place, more and more it's people bop around in the generation. so how do you educate them? and then, the second part of the question really gets back to
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what the president said, which is about a third of the workers don't have access to a workplace retirement plan. and so life is more challenging because obviously social security alone, in all likelihood, is not going to be enough. and i know that you've thought about this. and your boss, and your company, which is very forward leaning, has been thinking a lot about this. if you could address that sort of two-part question. for those of you who have that 401(k), you know, how can we make sure that folks are educated about their choices? and then for those who don't, don't have anything right now, you know, what options are there out there, and what else should we be doing? >> right. well, for companies, they really need to change the way that they offer pension or different types of savings plans because they don't have the pension plan. they have to make it simple, well structured, and really think about that default option. we talked about in the past how
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auto everything works, right? auto escalation, auto enrollment. what we do at utc is when an employee starts, they're automatically enrolled at a 6% contribution. the opt-out rate is 1.3%. once we put them in, they stay. we escalate that 1% a year up to a maximum of 10%. in addition to the company match, the company puts in an additional age-based contribution for 3 1/2 to 5%. even if they're not contributing their own money into the plan. it's very important. also, the default, a robust default option. we have developed something called the lifetime income strategy. it was developed for younger employees who don't have a pension plan. basically what it does is it's very similar to a target date portfolio. it's a diversified growth portfolio. it becomes less risky as the person approaches retirement. but it generates a lifetime income stream for them. and as their balance grows, so
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does this guaranteed income stream, so they don't outlive their money. it's very important for the industry to put these types of products in place that give people lifetime income security, but also flexibility that they want. for example, in our plan, it's unlike a traditional annuity in that you always have control over your balance. so there's no penalties if you decide that you want to take it out, like a traditional annuity. >> trending up on social media right now are applications to united technologies. let me turn, jean, to you. because we're obviously doing a lot of work with the treasury department, with the labor department and others on some regulatory proposals. and at the same time, we're working very hard on education. because we all have a shared interest in the importance of education. and when i have someone from the media here, i can't help but ask
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the question, what do you think the media can do to help the public learn about financial markets, and what we need to do to save for retirement, and how we can make all these correct choices? again, in the leave it to beaver universe, we didn't have to make these choices. in our modern family world, it's a different environment. what can you do? >> i think the best thing the media can do is to not get overly focused on the minutia of the markets. in fact, the things that people need to do over and over and over again to achieve financial security are relatively simple. all right? we have to have basic emergency cushions. i'm not talking about the three to six-month kind. i'm talking about a couple thousand dollars that can prevent you from sinking into credit card debt or prevent you from pulling money out of your 401(k). we've got to get into retirement accounts, whether they're
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401(k)s or my r.a.s and we have to stay in them for years and years and years and years. and we have to be invested, which means we've got to be defaulted into a target date fund. or to some other low-cost, relatively simple investment that people can understand. when we get caught up in the details of puts and calls and option and day trading and things that we really don't need in order to achieve financial security, the media might be trying to garner additional ratings. but i don't think we're doing people a great service. >> thank you. andy, let me turn to you. at the outset i want to say thank you to b of a and merrill lynch because they have been incredibly helpful partners in our efforts moving forward. you, in my judgment, have been a real industry leader. and i want to thank brian
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moynahan and also the ceo of merrill as well with whom i've met personally for your work on these issues. you've really been very, very helpful. and you mentioned about longevity. and so did vickie. if my memory serves me, b of a has been doing a fair amount of work with usc longevity center. can you tell us what you've learned from the work that you're doing regarding the evolving needs of a population that's living longer, and what that means for financial security, and what proactive steps, for instance, that we could be taking in light of what we're learning? >> great, thank you. the secretary is referring to work that we've done with the university of southern california and the davis school of gerontology. we had the very good fortune some years ago of hiring a graduate of the davis school to join our team at merrill lynch. we were blown away, frankly, by the focus that first the financial media placed on the
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fact that there's a gerontologist working on wall street and then subsequently we were blown away by how our clients embraced this much broader perspective around later life. over the last year or so, we've decided to double down on our work with usc, and we've extended our work with the davis school to now offer gerontological training for all the advisers at merrill lynch. and we have over a thousand advisers who either complete or are working their way through a gerontological certification. and today and you the auspices of the white house conference, we're announcing what we think is an even more exciting step forward, which is to extend this work with usc so that we're going to be training 35,000 companies that have 5 million employees who are clients of ours at merrill lynch, we're going to trade their benefits and hr professionals around this usc gerontological program. and what we're hoping is it will
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be a major step forward in terms of making workplaces much more age friendly. the partnership with usc is extraordinary. i would encourage everyone who is part of the conference to really take some time and focus on what they're doing with usc davis and broadly with the field of gerontology. >> thank you. that's great. and last, but not least, you talked in your presentation about the work you've done on behalf of women. as we know, women in the aggregate live longer than men and they've often saved less and have lower social security income in no small measure because they've made remarkably important decisions regarding child rearing, et cetera. so that puts them at, obviously, a greater risk. and you've worked with a lot of women to prepare them for retirement. what's the most important set of advice that you give to women? and what would you give to this
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audience today as we talk about women and financial security? >> thank you so much, secretary perez. i think that, in terms of the women that we outreach to coming from all walks of life and dealing with many of the challenges financially of child rearing or dealing with a relative who might be experiencing an illness, in terms of a caregiving role or in part-time employment, the challenge is staying consistent. the challenge is keeping that economic security or retirement goal ever present despite what sometimes may seem like setbacks. in terms of the financial education that reaches these women, it's reaching them where they're at at that particular life point with whatever they're dealing with and being realistic about it, whether they're dealing with divorce or whether or not they're dealing with an issue of caregiving for an aging
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loved one, but meeting those women where they are at financially. and not beating us up about it. we don't do any beating up. we're all in this together. the other piece that i really like to be mindful of is that in terms of financial education one size does not fit all. it's sort of like pantyhose. if we did that, the entire world would come crashing to a close if one size pantyhose fit all. so just like with financial education -- >> we're all processing the imagery of that metaphor right now. so we might need ten seconds or so to work through that. okay. we can proceed. >> so financial education needs to meet women and individuals where they're at. the other final piece i will add is understand the system, how important it is. those systems that the president
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shared, those bedrocks, social security, medicare, so important for people to be educated about the rules, but if we can make the rules a little bit more user friendly, just rules a little bit more user friendly -- i know sometimes when i can't get to sleep at night, i will try to read some of the rules and it will help me and have me out by 9:00 p.m. but for those individuals, seriously, who are dealing with either comprehension issues, literacy issues, or dealing with visual impairment, making those rules more user friendly is something we deal with all the time. it would be great if we could apply that for social security and for medicare. >> great. thank you. i have two questions that came via twitter. i think we've discussed them in part, but this does give you a little bit of an opportunity. i'm going to combine them into one. one comes from a sorority, which
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asked what advice would you give to someone trying to plan for a secure retirement. so again, if you want to build on things that you have said befo before, and after that, i want to open it up. we'll go to you and then to you. we'll probably have time for those two questions. >> vickie touched on social security. i don't think we can put too great an emphasis on how important it is to be mindful of how you take social security. 3/4 of americans take social security by 62.
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by doing that, they leave a ton of money on the table. one way we need to be offering additional education to people is to teach them not only how to best tap their social security, but how to mix their social security with their other retirement accounts and which to draw from at which time. we've got calculators to figure this out, but it is incredibly complicated. i'm with you. simplify it as much as possible. >> the question from a student i thought is very interesting because on one level the most important thing is to begin saving early, but i think as well it's important to remember that saving comes in many different forms. and for millennials in particular, one of the most important things they can do to begin shoring up their finances and thinking about the future is paying down student debt. paying down debt is the financial equivalent of saving. keep in mind, investments in
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human capital, when you think about what longevity is doing and careers are going to be very long and very varied, those investments, whether it is spending time in the sorority or in the classroom or job training and retraining with the anticipation you're going to be multiple careers, those are all building the kind of capital that people are going to need for long, successful, and secure financial lives. >> just to elaborate on andy's point. it's very important to take a holistic approach to financial wellness, so we are auto-everything, our younger employees. but at the same time, we have to be very mindful of their other debt. things like paying down student debt or thinking about buying a house or saving for their child's education. you do not want to have a young person max out their credit cards and then be saving 10% for retirement, so there has to be
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financial education on how to utilize debt. >> let me turn to you, ma'am. great. you have a microphone right there. then we're going to go to you, sir. we'll see how we're going on time. >> hello, everyone. i'm paula gibbs. i'm a home care worker out of atlanta, georgia. >> i love your shirt, by the way. >> thank you, thank you. we're in the fight for 15. home care workers, we make $13,000 a year or less. okay. how can we save? any suggestions? >> so how do folks who are barely making ends meet enter into this conversation? >> i think everybody is nodding our heads because it is really,
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really difficult, and you should, of course, be paid more money, which would make this problem go away. [ applause ] in the interim, though, there are two essential ways to save. one way is to just do small chunks when you can. whether it's $5 or $50, every little bit helps. the other is to -- if and when you get a small windfall, whether it is a tax refund or a gift, to just try to put as much of that away as you possibly can. i know it may not always be possible, but we do what we can when we can do it and hope that we make more money in the future. >> when i was listening to your questions, i was thinking about another moment when the president stood up here to talk about the need to implement --
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to propose and implement a regulati regulation with respect to home health workers. because as a result of a loophole in the wage and hour laws, you weren't entitled to wage protections. we're going to continue to keep fighting, and we're going to keep working with you. working to upskill americans and working to make sure folks are rewarded for a hard day's work with a fair day's pay is what the president's middle class economics is all about, so we're going to keep working on that. we have differences here about saving specific items, but there's no better way to save than having a better wage, so that's why we're going to keep working. yes, sir. if you could wait for the -- microphone is going to be with
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you in one second. >> george. we're with an ageing and longevity society. we can now diagnose this disease 10, 15, 20 years before symptoms appear, and one of the first manifestations of alzheimer's is the inability to perform financial transactions and make good decisions. in an ageing society, how do we protect this particularly vulnerable population? >> george, thank you for making that point. i would just -- let me just echo what george said. bank of america and merrill lynch has been very involved with the coalition on alzheime
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alzheimer's. overwhelming overwhelmingly, more americans are worried about any other illness combined. there needs to be a wave of education around identifying the signs of cognitive decline and also just the basics of how responsibility for financial accounts need to be handed from one person to another against the backdrop of cognitive decline. it's been great, frankly, to see finra, our primary securities regulator, the fcc, and other regulators pay attention to these topics as well. the regulatory backdrop needs to be very clear as well. >> i have one minute left, so sir, if you can ask a 20-second question, then we'll give you a 40-second answer. >> i would like to address the needs of the work force,
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increasingly minority and immigrant and encouraging them through financial education that they too can save. >> i couldn't agree more. one thing we have worked with everyone at this table on is making sure we have vehicles and mechanisms that are liguistically and cultural competent. i apologize that we can't do more. i'm really excited that we were able to get through this many questions. and this is a remarkably distinguished panel. i would ask you to give it up for them one more time. thank you very much. [ applause ]
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tomorrow, on c-span 3 between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., a collection of ceremonies this year in washington, including a portrait unveiling at the house judiciary committee for long time member congressman john coniers. next, a discussion on u.s. humanitarian aid to belgium in the early years of world war i led by herbert hoover. prior to serving as the 31st president, herbert hoover headed the commission for relief in belgium. it provided humanitarian aid to german-occupied belgium during the early years of world war i. coming up next, a panel discusses the history of the commission, herbert hoover's leadership, and the american volunteers who went


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