My name is Sheri Bridgeforth. I’m a civil servant here in Sacramento.
My family is great example of the difference that a secure retirement plan can make. We are a good example of why millions need a strong Secure Choice program to help them save for retirement.
In my immediate family, we all enjoy a safe and secure retirement plan. I’m a state employee and I participate in CalPERS and a savings program. My father retired from the Air Force after more than 20 years and receives a military pension. My mother will retire from AT&T, where she will receive what was once one of the best private sector pensions available.
Contrast that experience with my late grandmother, two of my aunts and several of my cousins – who have no retirement savings, onlySocial Security.
Two of my aunts are very hard workers – but they work in the home healthcare industry that pays very low wages. Both are more than 50 years old and neither has been able to set aside any money for retirement. I worry because they are on track to end up like my late grandmother, Kate Ella Robertson.
My late grandmother worked as a crane operator at a steel mill in Ohio. When the mill closed she returned to Mississippi where she spent decades as a home care worker and had no savings beyond Social Security. She could never afford to retire. She worked until her late 60s when she became too ill to work. A few short years later, she passed away.
I worry that most of the younger generation is on track to suffer the same fate as my grandmother. I have numerous cousins in their 20s and early 30s who work at low-wage jobs in retail or food service – jobs that do not offer any retirement savings plan. My cousins are in positions where they are unable to save money – and if they do save a little it’s not for retirement. They need their money now.
More and more of the jobs that are being created in recent years are in the service industry and do not offer pensions or 401(k). These workers desperately need a strong, comprehensive Secure Choice program so they can avoid working until they die – like my grandmother.