Philly Council panel hears from private-sector pensioners struggling to pay bills

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Philadelphia City Council members get an update on pensions Wednesday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council members get an update on pensions Wednesday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Most have heard about Philadelphia’s underfunded pension accounts for city retirees.  But City Council Wednesday held a hearing on troubles the non-government employees have in retirement. 

The Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service heard from Nicetown resident Naomi Cain, 82, who is living on a Social Security check that’s a little more than $1,000 a month.

“I am lucky that my home is paid for, but I still really struggle to pay my property tax and other bills,” she said. “My house needs repairs, but I don’t have the money to pay for it.”

Diane Oakley of the National Institute on Retirement Security said that in four out of five households, retirement savings add up to just one year’s salary. 

“Eighty percent of us are on track if we are 30 years old,” she said. “Unfortunately, some of us are like me and aren’t 30 years old.”

Council members are considering creating retirement plans for private employees who don’t have a plan at work.

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