Social Security launches retirement-planning push

WASHINGTON, DC: The Social Security Administration is sending a message to the American public - and not just the elderly - that better financial planning is needed for retirement.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Social Security Administration is sending a message to the American public - and not just the elderly - that better financial planning is needed for retirement.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Social Security Administration is sending a

message to the American public - and not just the elderly - that better

financial planning is needed for retirement.



The SSA, historically not an organization that has paid much attention

to PR, has launched a campaign touting the benefits of better retirement

planning. The effort will be highlighted by a series of PSAs (themed

’the future is in your hands’) and the mailing of 125 million ’Your

Social Security Statement’ pamphlets to Americans 25 and older. This

represents a substantial shift from past years, when only those 40 and

up were sent information by the organization.



Joan Wainwright, the SSA’s deputy commissioner for communications, said

earlier efforts to publicize retirement strategies lacked punch. The

previous retirement strategy pamphlet, a six-page ’Personal Earnings and

Benefit Estimate Statement,’ was recently deemed inadequate by focus

groups, which criticized both its title and design. Hence the more

succinct moniker and easier-to-read four-page format.



The PR campaign will also entail a greater public profile for the SSA’s

upper management. Commissioner Kenneth Apfel is booked to appear on

NBC’s Today show and CBS’s This Morning on October 1 to discuss the

mailings, and the organization’s communications department is trying to

line up other appearances on nationally broadcast news programs.

Additionally, SSA reps have made personal media appearances in the

nation’s top-30 media markets, while satellite media tours are being

conducted in 20 others.



Radio, TV and print PSAs in English and Spanish are scheduled to start

running next month, emphasizing that the sooner people start planning

their financial future, the easier it will be for them to meet or exceed

their financial goals. Generally, the rule is that the average person

needs to have an annual income totaling 70% of their pre-retirement

income to live comfortably after leaving the work force.



In-house creative services for the PSA series - rumored to have reached

dollars 300,000 in production costs - were provided by the SSA’s Charles

Roggero.



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