Baltimore Times Receives PayPal Grant

The Baltimore Times is among the latest Black-owned businesses to have received a generous $10,000 grant from PayPal. Earlier this summer, the Internet giant issued a $530 million pledge to provide support for Black-owned businesses.

“I’m grateful for the PayPal grant for $10,000, which is intended to help you pay your mortgage, taxes, and other bills,” said Baltimore Times Publisher Joy Bramble. “The grant came at the right time for us.”

In partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the PayPal Empowerment Grants for Black Business Program awarded up to $10,000 to more than 1,000 African American-owned businesses affected by COVID-19 and civil unrest.

The funds are earmarked to help companies avert layoffs, repair any property damage, cover operational costs, purchase new products and services, and assist with marketing.

“We recognize the critical challenge of access to capital that Black-owned businesses face.

Please know that this grant program is part of a larger commitment from PayPal to invest in Black and minority- owned businesses and communities,” PayPal officials said in a statement.

In June, PayPal announced a $530 million pledge to provide support for Black-owned businesses and start-ups. Part of the pledge included the $10,000 grants to 1,000 businesses.

“For far too long, Black people in America have faced deep-seated injustice and systemic economic inequality,” Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal stated. “Black lives matter and we need to drive transformative change. We must take decisive action to close the racial wealth gap that sustains this profound inequity.”

Schulman continued: “PayPal is uniquely positioned to help in this area, and we are committed to doing our part to address the unacceptable racial divide by advancing a more just economy and society.

“We’ve listened to leaders in the Black community about the challenges facing Black business owners and the support and investments needed to sustain Black-owned businesses and create long-term economic opportunity.”

The company’s commitment includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term investments in the community, including:

$10 million fund for empowerment grants to Black-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19 or civil unrest. These grants will provide direct support to business owners to cover expenses related to stabilizing and reopening their businesses.

$5 million fund for program grants and employee matching gifts for PayPal’s nonprofit community partners that are working to strengthen Black business owners by providing them with microloans, technical assistance, information, mentoring and access to digital solutions to speed their recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

The company said it would expand the PayPal Gives Employee Matching Gifts program. PayPal will match $2 for every $1 employees donate and $10 for every volunteer hour dedicated to racial and economic justice efforts in local communities, up to $500,000.

$500 million commitment to create an economic opportunity fund to support and strengthen Black and underrepresented minority businesses and communities over the long term, and designed to help drive financial health, access and generational wealth creation.

“AEO advocates for economic inclusion and works to create transformational change in the marketplace for small businesses,” said Connie Evans, the president and CEO of AEO. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical to invest in Black-owned businesses, create a more equitable system and break through the barriers that have historically challenged Black business ownership and wealth creation.”

PayPal also is committing $15 million to strengthen its internal diversity and inclusion programs to foster greater awareness, build equity, and support recruiting, hiring and career advancement of Black and minority employees.

These initiatives build on the extensive financial health and small business empowerment programs PayPal already supports.

They will “add a particular emphasis on Black-owned businesses, sharpen the focus of that work, accelerate the deployment of PayPal’s resources and fuel employee engagement,” the company wrote in a news release.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Discusses the Impact and Severity of COVID-19 Disparities in African Americans



During a 30-minute interview with BlackPressUSA that was streamed live over Facebook, YouTube, and, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke of the importance of convincing African Americans to participate in clinical trials. He also said that school re-openings should depend mainly upon the location and the infection rate in a given area.

Fauci also said a viable coronavirus vaccine is likely only a few months away.

“The fundamental principle is that we should try as best as we possibly can to get children back to school because we know the psychological aspect of that and the unintended consequences for mothers and fathers who may need to stop working, so we should try to get back to school,” Dr. Fauci said when asked about the impact of the pandemic on the upcoming school year.

“However, paramount needs to be the safety, health, and welfare of children, teachers, and families,” Dr. Fauci added.

“We live in a big country. Some places have low incidents and can open schools while some are high. Some areas rate of infection is so high where it’s not prudent to open schools. You don’t want to endanger their health.”

A member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Fauci has at times found himself at odds with President Donald Trump. For example, earlier this year, the president announced that he would withdraw U.S. funding and support for the World Health Organization (WHO). However, Dr. Fauci told BlackPressUSA that he still maintains a close relationship with the organization.

“I still work closely with the World Health Organization,” said Dr. Fauci. “I’m on a weekly phone call with them, and I signed a memorandum of understanding. We’re all in with the WHO.”

During the interview, which included National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Dr. Fauci also demonstrated the proper way to wear a facemask.

“Early on, there was a shortage of masks because we didn’t want to take masks away from health providers who needed them,” Dr. Fauci remarked. “It’s easy to get a cloth mask now.”

Dr. Fauci explained further that, “when there are droplets when someone sneezes or coughs, you [are protected]. You can take it and wash it with soap and water or stick it in the washing machine.”

Addressing the disparities surrounding COVID-19 and other illnesses, Dr. Fauci pointed to many African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans occupying essential jobs that provide employees with little — or no — protection.

“On the one hand, there’s a greater opportunity and risk of getting infected, but even as important is that once you get infected, you have prevalence and incidence of co-morbidities that make it more likely you’ll get a severe outcome from the infection,” Dr. Fauci noted.

“Those co-morbidities are like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and lung disease. It’s very clear that African Americans have a higher incidence, and the reality is that you suffer more.”

The hospitalization rates per 100,000 people are stunning when comparing African Americans and Caucasians, Dr. Fauci proclaimed.

“In many respects, it’s unacceptable that it should be that way,” he said, noting that the hospitalization rate per 100,000 African Americans stands at 247, compared to 53 per 100,000 whites.

“In other words, that’s almost five times the chance of getting hospitalized even though African Americans comprise just 13 percent of the [U.S.] population,” Dr. Fauci observed.

“That’s more than something we need to deal with.”

Dr. Fauci added that there are five fundamental things everyone could do to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Wear a mask, avoid crowds of more than 10, keep a distance of at least six feet, locations should seriously consider closing bars and getting people who go to bars to stop or do it outside, and wash hands frequently either with soap and water or alcohol Purell.”

Clinical trials are vital, Dr. Fauci said.

“We hope that we will have an effective vaccine by the end of the year, which means that as we get into 2021, we want to distribute it for those who could benefit,” he added.

“We need to spend extra effort to protect African Americans, and the way you find out if the vaccine is effective is the enrollment in a vaccine trial. It would be a terrible shame if African Americans stayed away from clinical trials, and they didn’t provide for themselves the vaccine that could protect them.”

Dr. Fauci suggested that he wears a mask everywhere goes and demanded that doing so shouldn’t be about politics.

“This is about protecting each other. We’re all in this together,” Dr. Fauci said.

“I’m pleased to see that we now have the president talking about wearing a mask where he didn’t before, and the vice president wears a mask everywhere he goes. We’ve got to pull together.”

Whether reinfection of the coronavirus can occur remains somewhat of a mystery, Dr. Fauci explained.

“When you get infected with any virus, generally, when you recover, your body has made a good immune response to recover,” Dr. Fauci noted.

“We know that happens in people who had COVID-19. We don’t know what the duration of that is. There are varying levels of antibodies in people who recover, and what we’re following is how long they last. Some people find that it doesn’t last very long.”

He continued:

“There are other types of immunity that go beyond, and they’re called T-cells or cellular immunity, which may also play a role in protecting people from being infected. Likely a degree of protection is pretty good for a finite period.

“There are no well-documented cases of people actually being re-infected. There have been some anecdotally stories of people recovering who seemed to have gotten infected, but we don’t know. There’s no real hard evidence that’s happening.”

Neighbors Network Formed To Help Mental Health Community During Pandemic

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the nation, the mental health community isn’t being forgotten.

Baltimore Councilmembers Zeke Cohen, Kristerfer Burnett and a coalition of community organizations have launched the Baltimore Neighbors Network (BNN), which is designed to respond to what the group called a looming mental health crisis caused by the disease.

The network, which hopes to reach as many as 85,000 community members over the next six months, will enlist neighbor volunteers, mental-health ambassadors, and pro bono clinicians to address the epidemic of loneliness and isolation created by COVID-19.

“The Baltimore Neighbors Network really grew out of conversations that were being had with several of our community partners, but started with the Mental Health Association of Maryland, Pro Bono Counseling, the Baltimore City Office on Aging and my office,” Cohen said in an interview with the Baltimore Times.

“Through my work on the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act over the past few years, I’ve been actively having conversations with Baltimoreans about the trauma that they experience,” Cohen said. “And, when the pandemic started, I immediately recognized that this was going to impact our community not just physically, but mentally as well. Together, with nearly 20 other organizations, we began to build what is now the Baltimore Neighbors Network.”

To help those with mental health concerns, volunteers will make calls to offer support, assess wellbeing, and create critical connections. Neighbors will then be invited to join the Neighbors Network, creating a peer-to-peer system of support. Those that require additional services will be connected to mental health ambassadors and pro bono clinicians, according to Cohen’s office.

“Our goal is for individuals to make proactive phone calls to check on isolated and senior members in their community. Those who wish to volunteer to make phone calls are vetted through an initial background check,” Cohen said. “They then participate in about five hours of training on harm-reduction and inclusive listening, script and technical training. Once on-boarding has been completed, volunteers will be assigned to make ten pre-assigned points of contact per week, totaling approximately 2.5 hours.”

During those calls, volunteers will field responses to determine what additional services, resources, or check-ins their contacts might need.

The calls will be proactive outreach to check-in on those most isolated and vulnerable in our community, Cohen added.

Also, Pro Bono Counseling Project clinicians will volunteer time and skills to assist individuals with mid to high levels of behavioral health needs via telehealth.

The clinicians are licensed and insured and have been vetted. Social work students, as well as health and human service professionals, will be able to volunteer at levels appropriate to their experience, expertise and interest.

“During what is arguably the most challenging period in our lifetime, it is more important than ever for Baltimoreans to unite. We face a deadly virus that threatens to tear us apart. In this moment of crisis, we will not turn our backs on our most vulnerable residents.” Cohen said.

Is It Time To Consider Mortgage Refinancing?

As unsettled as the economy is currently— and it is likely to continue to be for the foreseeable future— the time might be right to consider refinancing your mortgage loan.

“Maybe it’s a good time to refinance, or maybe not,” said Donna Murphy, deputy comptroller for compliance risk policy in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. “It depends on how far a consumer is into their mortgage and a lot of other factors, such as how high their current mortgage interest rate is.”

“Answering that question depends on what the consumer’s objective is,” added Richard Taft, deputy comptroller for credit risk policy, also with the Comptroller of the Currency’s bank

supervision policy unit. “Are they trying to maximize their available cash? Are they refinancing because they want to have lower debt as they retire?”

Answering these and other important questions, he continued, “[It] demands a more sophisticated approach than answering a call from a loan broker who offers to help you out with your mortgage or find you a lower mortgage interest rate.”

Murphy notes that the consumer’s objectives are critical because there are also options regarding what type of loan is being sought.

“If you have an adjustable rate loan and this is a time when fixed-rate loans are relatively low,” she continues, “you might want to make sure your costs are stable going forward. That could mean looking at the potential benefits of a 15-or 20-year fixed-rate mortgage.”

As a way to get started in what can be a somewhat complicated decision regarding whether to refinance, Murphy suggests that consumers start by seeking advice from a bank where they have existing relationships.

“The key is to find someone who will walk you through the range of products that are available, and the pros and cons associated with them,” she said.

There are some helpful resources and websites such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Murphy

explains, which has a section on its website that walks homeowners through the different stages of the mortgage loan application process.

Another of Murphy’s suggestions is to consider getting estimates from at least three different lenders of the costs and rates associated with refinancing a loan so that they can “comparison shop.”

“One of those three,” notes Taft, “should probably be your current lender. If you have a good repayment history, your current lender might be your least expensive option because they have an incentive to try to keep you.”

Both Murphy and Taft strongly warn consumers to be aware of mortgage scams.

“If someone cold calls you,” Murphy said, “don’t give them information over the phone. Go to the Internet to search for the official website of whatever lender you’re thinking about talking to. Way too many people get caught in scams where somebody is offering to fix your credit score or get you a quick loan.”

Another warning offered by Bryan Hubbard, deputy comptroller for public affairs, who recalls the period around 2008 when many consumers refinanced their mortgages as a way to take the equity out of their homes.

“At this moment people need to look at what may be ahead,” said Hubbard. “They should consider the value of the equity in their home today and be very careful about taking out cash and using it in a way that does not improve their financial condition or the value of the property.

“We don’t want to see people who are struggling, turn their homes into ATMs.”

Rebate/Stimulus ‘ Coronavirus ‘ Checks – Who Gets Them And How Much?

Who will get the checks? Information about the stimulus checks.

The U.S. government is about to send checks — or direct deposits — to most Americans to help people survive financially as much of the economy shuts down in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday evening — which still must be passed by the House — would provide $1,200 payments to adults with annual incomes up to $75,000, plus another $500 per child. Some Americans earning more than $75,000 would also receive money if they meet certain qualifications outlined below. For most Americans, the money is likely to arrive in April via direct deposit. Mailed checks may take longer.

Who exactly qualifies for a payment? Individuals earning up to $75,000 a year will be eligible for the full $1,200 check. Reduced checks will go out to individuals making up to $99,000 a year (the payment amount falls by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000).

Married couples are eligible for a $2,400 check as long as their adjusted gross income is under $150,000 a year. Reduced checks, on a sliding scale, will go out to married couples who earn up to $198,000. Married couples also will receive an additional $500 for every child under 17.

People who file as a “head of household” (typically single parents with children) are eligible for a $1,200 check if they earn up to $112,500 a year. Reduced checks on a sliding scale are available for heads of household earning up to $136,500 annually. Heads of household will also receive an additional $500 per child under 17.

Rebate FAQs

Q: Will I get a check?

A: That depends. You need to (1) meet the income eligibility and (2) file a return, unless you already receive Social Security or Railroad Requirement benefits. If they get Social Security, SSDI or Railroad Retirement benefits they won’t have to file but will get the rebate. SSI is not included unfortunately.

Q: How much will I get?

A: A single filer who is eligible for the full amount will receive $1,200. Joint filers eligible for the full amount will receive $2,400. If you have children, you will also receive $500 per child. So as an example, a family of four eligible for the full amount will receive $3,400. ($2,400 + $500 x kids.)

Q: Am I eligible?

A: The rebate amount starts phasing out at $75,000 for a single filer and $150,000 for joint filers. Filers who are under this amount will receive the full rebate. Single filers with an income between $75,000 and $99,000 will receive a partial rebate. Single filers over $99,000 will not receive a rebate. Joint filers with an income between $150,000 and $198,000 will receive a partial rebate. Joint filers with an income over $198,000 will not receive a rebate.

Q: How do I get the rebate?

A: If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, or you receive Social Security, Social Security Disability, or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will receive the rebate automatically. If you provided bank account information to receive your tax refund as a direct deposit, you will receive your rebate that way. If you did not provide information for direct deposit, you will be mailed a rebate check to the address provided on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever you filed most recent. If you did not file in 2018 or 2019 but you receive Social Security benefits, you will receive the rebate the same way you receive your Social Security benefit.

Q: What if I don’t get Social Security benefits, and I also didn’t file in 2018 or 2019?

A: You will need to file a return to receive your rebate. You can find out how to file a return for free at

Q: How soon will I get this rebate?

A: Congress directed the IRS to send the rebates as rapidly as possible. With that said, it could still take a month or longer. The fastest way to receive your rebate is if you already filed a tax return and provided your direct deposit information. If you have not done that, you should file as soon as possible. For information, including potentially free options, go to

Community Reinvestment Act Changes Expected To Benefit Low- And Moderate-Income Communities

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) could lead to greatly enhanced investment in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities around the country, according to Grovetta N. Gardineer, senior deputy comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The OCC is soliciting comments on a proposal to modernize the CRA by clarifying what counts, updating where activity counts, measuring performance more objectively, and making reporting more timely and transparent.

“The CRA has a very noble goal of making sure banks meet their responsibility for lending, investing in and servicing communities where they do business, with a focus on low- and moderate-income individuals and areas,” Gardineer said. “The statute remains a noble goal, but the implementation is outdated and in many ways ineffective.”

The CRA was enacted in 1977 as a direct response to redlining, an unethical practice whereby banks and other lending institutions made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for residents of poor, inner-city communities to borrow money, get a mortgage, take out insurance or access other financial services. Redlining did not take into consideration an individual’s qualifications or creditworthiness.

Gardineer explains that a primary reason the CRA needs updating is because the banking industry has changed fundamentally in the more than 40 years since it was implemented.

“Among other things,” Gardineer adds, “we did not have the Internet in 1977, and interstate branching was not available.

“Banks were limited to where they had branches or where their home office was located, so they had a completely geographical approach,” she continued. “With all of the tremendous technological advancements in recent years, banks now offer products and services across the country regardless of geography.”

The OCC hopes stakeholders will carefully review the proposed changes and submit comments so that a final rule can be issued in the first half of 2020.

Noting that the new CRA rules would fight displacement and harmful gentrification— a high priority in many minority communities— Gardineer points out that the OCC is making a concerted effort to work closely with such organizations as the NAACP and the National Urban League.

To that end, OCC has invested the time to meet with thousands of concerned individuals “discussing the issues that need to be addressed.” Meetings are currently scheduled with Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. Another recent outreach effort to solicit public input included an Atlanta bus tour with Ambassador Andrew Young.

There are still too many underserved communities in the U.S. that are “CRA desserts,” Gardiner notes. “No matter what their geographical footprint, we want banks to be able to offer a broad array of services to communities and individuals throughout the nation.

“Given the wide spectrum of individuals who we know will benefit from this rule making process,” Gardiner said, “it is particularly important to the Comptroller to make sure that we spread a wide net, that we make ourselves available and that we share our vision.

“We have really worked hard over the past two years,” she concluded, “closing a loophole that allowed wealthy people to get CRA credit for investing in LMI areas. That is not what CRA was ever intended to do. And that is being directly responsive to some of the feedback we have been receiving.”

Golden Rules For Holiday Shopping

It could cost a whopping $38,993.59 for your “True Love” this holiday season. If you bought the gifts in the holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” it would cost a record $38,993.59, according to the 36th annual PNC Christmas Price Index.

Few have a budget for all those birds and performers, but ‘tis the season to get carried away. Here are a few spending tips so you don’t overstuff the stockings— or your budget!

Holiday Spending Tips:

  1. Be choosy— Identify your special partridge and pare down your list to those you’re actually close to. Don’t guilt-buy for those far-away relatives who will re-gift your tacky present anyways. If you can’t resist, create a funny e-card for free.
  2. Create a budget— Don’t be one of the geese that lays a spending egg. Once you know who you’re buying for, decide how much you will spend per person. If $15 is all you can afford per person, then spend $15 – not $17 or $20. If that seems a bit Scrooge-like, tell your friends/family to set the same limits for you. Take advantage of online budgeting tools to set limits with text or email alerts to warn you.
  3. Find the bargains— Be surfing while the swans are a swimming. Look for coupons and Groupons. When it comes to online shopping, there’s a cost for convenience. PNC calculates the online cost of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts is $42,258.91, which is seven percent over the in-person approach. But you can save by watching for free shipping offers and no-hassle returns plus free shipping.
  4. Get crafty— Handy drummers are drumming up their own gifts. Whip up a few dozen batches of your special cookies, cake pops or brownies, package in pretty baskets with a bow and call it a day. Who on your list wouldn’t love a homemade treat over a store-bought gift?
  5. Pay smartly— Like the maids, milk the most out of your money. Pre-paid cards mean you only spend a set amount and are perfect for kids to learn how to buy for others and stay on budget. Cash in on your credit card reward points to buy gifts. When using credit, make sure you have a plan to pay off your balance. For online payments, look for security or privacy seals first before submitting information. The payment page should have a lock icon and the address should start with “https.”

IRS Urges Families, Teens To Make Online Safety A Priority

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urges families and teens to stay vigilant in protecting personal information while connected to the Internet. Although the IRS is making huge strides in fighting identity theft and thwarting fraudulent tax returns, help is needed.

During National Work and Family Month, IRS is asking parents and families to be mindful of all the pitfalls that can be found by sharing devices at home, shopping online and through navigating various social media platforms. Often, those who are less experienced can put themselves and others at risk by leaving an unnecessary trail of personal information for fraudsters.

The IRS has joined with representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft refund fraud to protect the nation’s taxpayers. This group, the Security Summit, has found methods to help reduce fraudulent tax returns entering tax-processing systems.

Here are a few common-sense suggestions that can make a difference for children, teens and those who are less experienced:

•Remind them why security is important. People of all ages should not reveal too much information about themselves. Keeping data secure and only providing what is necessary minimizes online exposure to scammers and criminals. Birthdates, addresses, age and especially Social Security numbers are among things that should not be shared freely.

•Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers. Use strong, unique passwords for each account. Be sure all family members have comprehensive protection especially if devices are being shared.

•Teach them to recognize and avoid scams. Phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as IRS or from legitimate organizations pose risks. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

•Protect personal data. Don’t routinely carry a Social Security card. Keep it at home. Be sure any financial records are secure. Advise children and teens to shop at reputable online retailers. Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

•Teach them about public Wi-Fi networks. Connection to Wi-Fi in a mall or coffee shop is convenient but it may not be safe. Hackers and cybercriminals can easily intercept personal information. Always use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi

Consumer Reports Names Morgan State University Vice President To Its Board Of Directors

Consumer Reports (CR) has named Morgan State University vice president Willie May, Ph.D. to its 16-member Board of Directors. Dr. May, who heads the University’s Division for Research and Economic Development (D-RED), was one of two new members CR announced at its Annual Meeting held in October. He joins Russell G. Noles, retired executive vice president and chief operating officer at Nuveen, a subsidiary of Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association, as the latest additions to the volunteer governing body. Consumer Reports’ members annually elect a slate of nominees to serve a three-year term on the Board.

“It is truly an honor to be able to work collaboratively with Consumer Reports in proactively setting standards for consumer safety, satisfaction, and sustainability,” said Dr. May. “This is the perfect complement to a professional career that has allowed me to meaningfully contribute to the nation’s go-to agency for measurements, standards, and technology for 45 years and assist in preparing the students at Morgan to become future leaders. I look forward to this new opportunity to serve.”

Members of the board are responsible for overseeing Consumer Reports activities. Board members meet periodically to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization.

“It’s a special honor to help guide an organization that offers people certainty and confidence in an ever-shifting world,” said Annette LoVoi, Chair of Consumer Reports’ Board of Directors. “I look forward to working with Willie, Russell and fellow Board members, along with CR leadership, members and partners, to help deliver greater fairness, safety, and transparency to the marketplace.”

As a nonprofit membership organization, CR works in cooperation with consumers to create fairer, safer, and healthier environments. It provides evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. For its efforts, CR has uncovered landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace.

At Morgan, in his role as vice president for D-RED, Dr. May supports research throughout the University and oversees IP and commercialization efforts. He previously served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and as the director of Major Research and Training Activities at the University of Maryland, College Park. His laboratory-based research is described in more than 90 peer-reviewed technical publications.

Wells Fargo Retirement Study Points To Need For Better Preparation

Today’s retirees are happier than workers, despite some having an unmanageable amount of debt and a high level of financial stress, according to the 2019 Wells Fargo Retirement Study.

“Our survey clearly shows stark differences between current retirees and younger generations and how they will fund retirement,” said Fredrik Axsater, head of the Institutional Client Group for Wells Fargo Asset Management. “For those still in the workforce, saving for a viable retirement lies almost entirely in their own hands, which requires a vastly different strategy and approach. As an industry, we need to ensure that more workers take the necessary actions today to adequately fund their retirement tomorrow.”

Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Wells Fargo, the study surveyed 2,708 workers age 18 to 75; and 1,004 retirees.

The study found several key characteristics that influence today’s retiree, who— in the survey— had an average age of 70.

More than eight in 10 of retirees fund their retirement primarily with Social Security or a pension; just five percent say personal savings, such as an IRA or a 401(k), is their main source of funding.

For younger generations the quality of their retirement will depend almost entirely on how much they save through vehicles such as a 401(k) or IRA.

Approximately 45 percent of Millennial workers say the top source of funding for their future retirement will come from an IRA or a 401(k), compared to just 25 percent who say they expect to rely on Social Security or a pension for their retirement income.

“I think it’s fair to say that there’s a mismatch between savings that people have, and also what they expect to need in order to feel safe,” Axsater said. “Generation X, as an example, on average have $66,000 in savings and they say that they will need on average $750,000 in order to retire comfortably. So, this study is really a call to action— for us to build a stronger foundation.

“A call to action is needed to get more and more people into what we call the planning mindset— the mindset where people have a combination of other long-term financial goals. It’s time for action.”

Despite recognition that saving and paying for retirement now rests with the individual, younger generations hold mixed views about whether they are saving enough, the study revealed.

Financial challenges negatively impact the ability of nearly half of workers to save adequately, according to the survey.

Overall, just over half (55 percent) of workers say they are saving enough for retirement. By generation, 61 percent of baby boomers say they are saving enough, followed by Millennials (55 percent), Generation X (51 percent) and Generation Z (48 percent).

Debt plays a crucial role in workers’ ability to save, as 31 percent of Millennials say they have an “unmanageable amount of debt,” followed by Generation X (26 percent), Generation Z (25 percent) and baby boomers (14 percent).

Among all workers, nearly half (46 percent) say they are putting off saving for retirement due to current financial challenges, and 67 percent of workers paying student loans say the burden of student loans is getting in the way of saving for retirement.

As a result, many workers appear to be falling well short of what they will need to fund their retirement.

Twenty-nine percent have personally saved less than $25,000; 13 percent have saved between $25,000 and $100,000; and 11 percent have saved between $100,000 and $250,000 – which means that more than half (54 percent) of workers have saved less than $250,000 for retirement, according to the survey.

Thirty-two percent of workers can’t estimate what they have saved for retirement and only 15 percent of workers have saved $250,000 or more.

Just over six in 10 workers say they would have no idea what they would do if Social Security were not available “when they need it,” a concern that jumps to 71 percent for current retirees.

Across generations, 91 percent of workers and 94 percent of retirees say they would feel “betrayed” if the money they paid into Social Security were not available when they retire.

The survey found that workers have much more faith in their personal savings than in Social Security.

Axsater says it’s important to have a planning mindset, which includes setting and achieving as a goal or set of goals during the past six months to support their financial life; working diligently toward a long-term goal; feeling better about having finances planned out over the next one to two years; and preferring to save for retirement now to ensure they have a better life in retirement.

“If more workers adopt these behaviors, more retirees should be better prepared for the rapidly changing reality of retirement,” Axsater said.