Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Posts about Retirement

Time to feed that piggy bank. It's National Retirement Planning Week

Posted by: Dee DePass Updated: April 11, 2012 - 11:54 AM

Just when you were sure it was "OMG! Countdown to Taxes Week" there is hope. Or at least a distraction.

The National Retirement Planning Coalition has declared April 9-13 National Retirement Planning Week. That pithy little declaration comes with all sorts of sobering, head shaking and brow furrowing news.

For example, did you know that the Coalition found that a fourth of all baby boomers "have little or no confidence in their ability to meet their retirement goals." That's not surprising since busy jobs, longer life spans, frozen pension plans, and uncertainty about Social Security and Medicare have mounted to give most workers pause. 

Still, financial industry and advocacy organizations insist that financial planning doesn't have to strike fear or feelings of defeat. 

"The good news is that it’s never too late to achieve a level of financial security in retirement. It all begins with planning,” said Kerry Geurkink, director, Individual Annuity Marketing, Securian Financial Group. It doesn't have to be painful, she said.

For example, Securian Financial created Retirement GPS  a colorful step-by-step online site that uses cartoons and videos to help any employee figure out whether they want to travel or work after age 65, how much they will need and for how long.

The tool also offers tips by Securian's medical director on ways to stay well after 50 and the varying longevity trends for men, women and couples.

Separately, the National Retirement Planning Coalition crafted a website called “Retire On Your Terms” that help workers create long-term financial goals.

To check them out, play with calculators and cartoons or simply dream, go to and  

AARP and Society for Human Resrouce Management plot plans for baby boomer exodus

Posted by: Dee DePass Updated: April 9, 2012 - 1:52 PM

A couple of unexpected players have entered the debate over the job-skills gap with a new poll suggesting that U.S. employers are finally ramping up training and employee benefits.

The reason? They hope to retain the expertise that resides in the baby boomer generation that’s racing toward retirement.

In releasing their new poll Monday, AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said that 72 percent of surveyed H.R. professionals identified the pending departure of retirees as a "problem" that their organizations hoped to fix.  HR managers said they are busy preparing for an onslaught of older and skilled departees.

To understand the scope of the dilemma, consider that a Pew Research Center report indicates that 10,000 baby boomers will turn age 65 every day for the next 20 years. Many are expected to retire or curtail their workload as they become old enough to qualify for government-paid health benefits under Medicare.

As a result, HR managers said they were busy:

  • increasing training and cross-training of younger workers (45 percent of respondents)
  • developing succession planning (38 percent)
  • hiring retired employees as consultants and temporary workers, so as not to lose their expertise (30 percent)
  • offering flexible work arrangements (27 percent)
  • designing part time positions to attract older workers (24 percent)

More than half the managers stated that their older workers had "stronger writing, grammar and spelling skills"  than younger workers and that they exhibited a stronger professionalism and work ethic.




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