On Wednesday, in front of a large crowd of alumni and students in the Williamson Hall Auditorium, Jill McCullough presented her lecture, “The Outlook for Individuals’ Retirement Security in the United States.”
McCullough, an assistant professor at Youngstown State University and certified financial planner, possesses a passion for retirement planning. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the subject of retirement and has worked in private practice, helping businesses set up retirement accounts.
Her lecture addressed the importance of security in retirement.
“[The lecture] is about the state of individuals going into retirement and whether people will be prepared and able to actually do that, and unfortunately the circumstances aren’t real strong right now,” McCullough said.
McCullough discussed the causes leading up to current retirement problems.
“The typical baby boomer — when they were a young kid — they didn’t hear their parents talking about the stock market or whether they should put money in a 401k; 401k didn’t even exist,” she said. “As recently as the 1980s, 80% of workers had a pension, so you work somewhere for so long, you retire, you get a pension and you’re done. Now, only 20% of workers have a pension, so that means the baby boomers who grew up thinking ‘oh, you don’t have to take care of this’ all of a sudden are realizing ‘we were supposed to take care of this and nobody ever taught us how.’ And so this generation is really caught in the crossfire.”
David Moore, the president elect of the YSU Alumni Society, responded positively to McCullough’s lecture.
“This is very timely
information. Dr. McCullough did a nice job,” Moore said. “As I approach 62 this year I was thinking ‘this is the time to go; this is the time to retire,’ but after seeing her statistics, her charts, her trends, 65 might be more realistic as she pointed out because of the changes in the health care and pensions. So she’s made me rethink what I might do six months from now.”
Planning for the future, McCullough says, does not start at age 60; she encourages people of all ages to be thinking about their retirement.
“Most people have a goal that someday they would like to stop working, or at least maybe be able to work at something they enjoy doing and not just something to pay the bills. Unfortunately, people don’t really take the time to stop and plan how they’re going to get there. … If you start early enough, thinking about these things, then you have your whole lifetime to get ready,” McCullough said.
McCullough’s speech is only the first part of the three-part YSU Alumni Lecture Series.
Betty Jo Licata, dean of Williamson College of Business Administration, helped organize the lecture.
“The Alumni Society is having a lecture sponsored by each of the colleges at YSU, so when they approached us about one for the college of business, we identified a topic that we thought would be of significant interest to our alumni, and we selected retirement because whether you’re 30 or whether you’re 60 or 70, it’s a topic that’s very much on people’s minds these days,” Licata said.
McCullough hopes that people can learn something from her lecture and apply it to their own lives.
“People need to take control of [their retirement]. That’s the big takeaway is that it’s something that you have to face, and you have to look at it and see where you are,” McCullough said. “Even if you’re afraid the picture is not going to be real pretty, it’s going to be a lot better to know where you stand.”