By Joyce Luedke

The numbers are stark.  Few Americans have saved for retirement. Those with access to 401(k)’s have not saved enough.

 “ Sixty five percent of respondents to an August 2012 AARP survey said they worry they won’t have enough to retire and 72% believe they will have to delay retirement.”

Social Security benefits represent about 38% of income for the elderly .

Twenty-two percent of married couples and about 47% of unmarried people rely on Social Security for 90% or more of theirPiggy Bank income.

 In 2014, 101,000 people 65 and older in Wisconsin claimed the Homestead Tax Credit.  (Dave Hansen’s radio address 2/27/14)

Wisconsin has a non-profit retirement system in place that is recognized around the world as being one of the best designed and operated systems.

The Wisconsin Retirement System is the only system in the nation that is 100% funded because it is well managed. When investments in the fund do well, payments to retirees can go up.  Payments to retirees will decline, as they did after the Great Recession, when investments don’t do well.

Deferred pay that is wisely invested and managed by the Department of Employee Trust Funds for nearly 186,000 retirees and their families pumps millions of dollars back into Wisconsin’s economy.
Each dollar in pension benefits brings $1.49 back into Wisconsin’s economy.

The Wisconsin Retirement System invested $115.6 million in Wisconsin companies at the end of the fiscal year June 30, 2014.

In 2014 , Senator Dave Hansen introduced Senate Bill 611 , “the Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Act—the state’s first private pension plan based on the success of the nationally recognized Wisconsin Retirement System.”

Social Security CardFarmers, workers and small businesses would be able to save through a private pension plan that would be invested and managed by the State Investment Board.  Participants would receive a guaranteed monthly benefit when they retire just like public officials and elected officials receive.”

“It is time to make sure all residents of Wisconsin have access to the same type of pension plan that public workers and elected officials receive—one that will provide them with the retirement security they have earned.”

Groups throughout Wisconsin are searching for ways to renew the discussion for legislation that would guarantee all working people in Wisconsin have a secure pension plan to supplement Social Security after their years of hard work and valuable contributions to our state and nation.

The next article for Middle Wisconsin will address what is being proposed by Senator Hansen in 2015.