06-22-2018  3:21 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Oregon woman accused of mistreating 3 children

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested an Oregon woman accused of criminally mistreating three children in her care.Lt. Henry Reimann of the Hillsboro Police Department says Merlinda Avalos limited the kids to two peanut sandwiches a day, prevented them from using the bathroom at night and...

Man charged in 1986 killing of 12-year-old Tacoma girl

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Lakewood man suspected of killing a 12-year-old girl in Tacoma over three decades ago has been charged with murder and rape.The News Tribune reports Pierce County prosecutors charged 66-year-old Gary Hartman Friday in connection with Michella Welch's death in 1986. She...

Federal agency approves Idaho field burning rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have approved Idaho's request to loosen field burning rules.Backers say the move offers more flexibility to keep smoke away from people but health advocates counter that it will lead to breathing problems for some residents.The U.S. Environmental...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

Trial set in long-delayed post-Katrina racial shooting case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A trial date has been set for a white man accused of shooting at three black men in what federal prosecutors said was a racially motivated attack following Hurricane Katrina.The case of Roland Bourgeois Jr. has dragged on for years. He was indicted five years after the...

Xhaka and Shaqiri score for Swiss, make Albanian symbol

KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — Albania's national flag was at the center of Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia on Friday at the World Cup.Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage.Both players put their open hands...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actress Betty Buckley wants to 'make America happy again'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's busy. And then there's Betty Buckley busy.The veteran singer and actress began the month with four nights of concerts in New York celebrating the release of her new live album, "Hope."Buckley appeared earlier this week on the season finale of The CW's "Supergirl,"...

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Police shooting of boy spurs more protests, appeals

Protesters demonstrated Friday for a third day over the fatal police shooting in Pennsylvania of an unarmed black...

Ex-New England Mafia boss 'Cadillac Frank' guilty in slaying

BOSTON (AP) — Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was convicted Friday of killing a nightclub owner to keep...

Inmate charged with capital murder in Kansas deputy deaths

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old inmate was charged Friday with capital murder in the shooting deaths...

UK split by Brexit divide 2 years after vote to leave EU

LONDON (AP) — It's been two years since the shoppers and traders of London's Romford market voted by a wide...

Italy vows to expel far more migrants, but it won't be easy

ROME (AP) — Barely a week in office, Italy's populist interior minister lost no time in bringing home his...

Rival Koreas agree to August reunions of war-split families

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea agreed Friday to hold temporary reunions of families...

In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, photo, Nancy Harvey, owner of Lil' Nancy's Primary Schoolhouse, left, cares for a toddler at her home, which has she has converted into a child care center, in Oakland, Calif. Most U.S. households are heading for a worse lifestyle in retirement than they had while they were working, because they simply aren’t saving enough, experts say. Harvey, who has less than $2,000 saved despite her decades of work, plans to continue with real-estate classes in hopes that it can provide a second job. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The American dream of a blissful retirement, free of financial worries, is dying.

Most U.S. households are heading for a worse lifestyle in retirement than they had while they were working, because they simply aren't saving enough, experts say. Thirty-five percent of households in their prime earning years or later have nothing saved in a retirement account and no access to a traditional pension, according to an AP analysis of savings data from the Federal Reserve.

Among households that do have some savings, the typical amount is $73,200. That's about 15 months of the median household's income.

One group doesn't have to worry as much: the richest 10 percent of households. They typically have more than $413,000 in a retirement account, according to the analysis of the Fed's latest data, which is from 2013.

The rest of us look a lot more like Nancy Harvey, a 54-year-old child-care center owner in Oakland, California, who has less than $2,000 saved. Her plan, as of now, is to continue with real-estate classes in hopes that it can provide a second job.

"I have to work and pray and hope my health continues to remain good so that I can continue to work," she says. "I still have a mortgage and all the insurance that goes along with that, and I have to pay payroll for my employees, which is really important to me. I can honestly say I'm frightened about the future."

Harvey isn't alone, as the gap widens between the few households who don't have to worry about a comfortable retirement and everyone else. The anxiety even stretches across political affiliations. Nearly equivalent percentages of Democrats and Republicans say they're not managing very well in retirement planning, a recent survey from Lincoln Financial found.

The looming crisis is the result of a system that's increasingly put workers in charge of saving for and managing their own retirement. Because the U.S. households at the top have reaped most of the income gains over the last decade — and because they have disproportionately more access to retirement plans to begin with — experts say the gap in retirement savings is only growing wider. They're expecting to see more elderly Americans working longer, moving in with their kids and tapping assistance programs.

"Only the privileged have access to a secure retirement," says Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist at the New School for Social Research.

THE INCOME DIVIDE

It's easier to save when you're making more money, and the vast majority of the income gains have gone to the top in recent years.

The top 10 percent of U.S. households made more than $162,180 last year, up 6 percent from a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation. For middle-income Americans, incomes have barely stayed ahead of inflation. Lower-income households are making less than a decade ago.

The benefit of making more money goes beyond having more to save. Higher-income households also get a bigger after-tax benefit from putting money into a 401(k) or another tax-advantaged account.

With traditional pensions increasingly becoming extinct, it's grown even more important for Americans to save. Meanwhile, Social Security — the last line of defense for many retirement plans — is at risk of having enough money to pay only 79 percent of benefits, starting in 2034.

ACCESS TO PLANS

The death of the traditional pension means the burden is on us to save, and that's why access to 401(k) and other retirement plans is so important.

Most lower-income households will save when they have access to a retirement plan. The problem is that most don't get the opportunity.

Eighty percent of high-income working households have access to a 401(k) or similar defined-contribution plan, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. For low-income working households, it's just 35 percent.

The low retirement balances mean the majority of households — 52 percent — are at risk of having to cut their spending by more than 10 percent after entering retirement, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

"For an upper-middle class person, not being able to maintain their standard of living means fewer trips," says Alicia Munnell, the center's director. "But for lower-income people, it can really mean depriving themselves."

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

To help close the gap, states are trying their own measures. California recently passed a law requiring employers to automatically enroll their workers in a state-run program and deduct money from each paycheck.

Experts prefer a broader fix from the federal government but call the state programs an encouraging step. In the meantime, many workers are simply working longer.

David Tucker is 74 and still waking at 1:15 each morning to get to his job as a skycap at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C.

He says he may consider retiring next year or cutting down to a few days per week. And what would he look forward to in retirement?

"I would like to feel what it's like to wake up and not go to work," he says. "For a while, that's all I would like to do. I wouldn't worry about anything else."

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE — This is part of Divided America, AP's ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

AP Data Journalist Angeliki Kastanis and AP Business Writers Joseph Pisani and Sarah Skidmore Sell contributed to this report.

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