In a recent speech, SEC Commissioner Aguilar addressed the need to protect retirees. He cited a recent survey which found that Americans plan to retire at a median age of 65, but that the actual median retirement age is 58. While some individuals do choose to retire early, many do so involuntarily whether because they feel forced to do so or are victims of corporate downsizing. Further, the survey found that while many retirees plan to work some retirement, most do not do so. Longer retirements coupled with few retirement employment opportunities further strain retirees’ resources. In addition to the general statistics, Commissioner Aguilar also discussed retirement disparities facing unmarried women, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
In addition to the challenges in accumulating retirement savings, Commissioner Aguilar highlighted the related issues of elder financial abuse as well as regulatory initiatives designed to address the financial abuse. He discussed the wealth disparity between the baby boom seniors who have managed to accumulate significant assets with everyone else, noting that the disparity increases retirees’ vulnerability to financial exploitation. Commissioner Aguilar noted that the SEC’s enforcement activity confirms the trend of increasing fraudulent activities aimed at seniors. He also highlighted two SEC exam priorities important to retirees, including an initiative focusing on retirement vehicles and rollovers, as well as a broker-dealer exam initiative focused on sales practices.