Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Request a presentation on the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative

If you're interested in learning more about the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative, the Minnesota Elder Index, endorsing our project or more, we are happy to present to your group.

MinnEESI partners represent a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. The MinnEESI partners are:

Bonnie Watkins: Minnesota Women's Consortium (MinnEESI lead organization)
Amy Brenengen: Minnesota Office on the Economic Status of Women
Dan DuHamel: Department of Human Services
Lisa Edstrom: University of Minnesota Center on Aging
Pam Johnson: Minnesota Community Action Partnership
Mary Olsen Baker: Department of Human Services Transform 2010

To request a presentation contact Marie Nelson, MinnEESI Project Coordinator at the Minnesota Women's Consortium: 651-228-0338 or

By Marie Nelson

Thank you to our new endorser!

Lisa Edstrom (University of Minnesota Center on Aging) and Marie Nelson (MinnEESI) presented yesterday to the North Suburban Senior Council on the Minnesota Elder Index. The North Suburban Senior Council has worked for a number of years to give voice to elders in the Roseville area.

Following the presentation, the North Suburban Senior Council chose to endorse the Minnesota Elder Index as a new tool to ensure that future planning and policies are based on the true costs of shelter, food, transportation and health care, so that Minnesota elders can continue to live with dignity in their own homes and communities.

Thank you for endorsing this new cost-of-living tool!

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The MinnEESI Elder Index and Policy Brief

The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative offers two great resources for working on elder economic issues. Click here to access the Minnesota Elder Index and our policy brief.

The Minnesota Elder Index is an incredible resource offering information on the cost of living in every county in Minnesota. We've never before had a tool quite like this. The policy brief is MinnEESI's plan on what to do with the information provided by the Index, including recommendations and next steps.

Don't let this great resource pass you by! Please contact Marie Nelson at for more information.

By Marie Nelson

Monday, April 13, 2009

Would you choose time or money?

Star Tribune finance columnist Kara McGuire recently wrote about how the recession is affecting retirement. Her article states that according to a recent ING Direct survey, four in 10 Americans believe the current economic climate will force them to retire up to 10 years later than originally expected, or not at all. This was concluded upon surveying 1,223 adults.

McGuire wrote that she is in her early 30s and doesn't expect to retire until she is 70 or older. McGuire says that a 30-year retirement is simply unsustainable for most people.

That brings us to the age-old question: Would you choose time or money? Many of us will have to choose between a longer but frugal or a shorter but more comfortable retirement. What would you choose?

For more by Kara McGuire, check out her article on the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative.

By Marie Nelson

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photos from the early days of MinnEESI

Our executive director, Bonnie Watkins, recently stumbled across these photos from the early days of the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative. These photos feature many of the individuals who were important in defining our goals, policy recommendations and how the new Minnesota Elder Index can improve the future of Minnesota elders.

It's never too late to get involved. To join one of our working groups or attend a future MinnEESI meeting, contact Marie Nelson at or 651-228-0338.

By Marie Nelson

Friday, April 3, 2009

What's the answer to the dwindling 401(k)?

The New York Times features experts’ opinions on retirement savings in the current economy. Baby boomers looking ahead at retirement saw their 401(k) plans dwindle over the last year. As they near retirement, many are looking for other ways to save. Here are a few highlights from the op-ed:

• Only 5.5 percent of American families owned an annuity in 2007
• More than half the United States work force does not have a 401(k) plan

The Elder Economic Security Initiative at Wider Opportunities for Women advocates for strengthened policies that protect the worker and make saving for retirement easier for older Americans. Without these policies in place, it is much more difficult for workers to accumulate what’s necessary to age in place in their later years. For instance, in Minnesota, the average social security payment for a woman is just $11,233 a year. According to the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Standard Index, a single elder without a mortgage needs $16,767 just to make ends meet in Minnesota, amounting to a gap of more than $5,500! A structured, functional, and fair retirement system is necessary to move current and future elders toward economic security.

The author of this post is Alisha Howell of Wider Opportunities for Women.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

80 marathons in 85 years

Below is an incredible portrayal of 85-year old Margaret Hagerty who completed her 80th marathon at the time this video was filmed. We at MinnEESI think that running 80 marathons is impressive at any age and are glad that Hagerty enjoyed the spotlight. This video was part of the First Annual International Film Festival on Aging.

By Marie Nelson