Rolling Out

AARP Illinois and financial leaders work to protect Social Security

Chicago’s financial experts provide insight on retirement and how Social Security can be preserved
Robin Robinson, president of Birdland Media; and John Rogers Jr. co-CEO of Ariel Investments (Photo credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre for rolling out)

AARP Illinois took a proactive step toward safeguarding the future of Social Security by hosting an panel discussion titled “Conversations with Chicago Leaders – A Discussion About Building Wealth and the Future of Social Security.” The event, held on May 9 at the CME Center/ZO Clubhouse, aimed to ignite a comprehensive dialogue among city leaders about the critical need for bipartisan solutions to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security.

The program, moderated by Robin Robinson, president of Birdland Media, featured a distinguished lineup of panelists including Maria Castro, founder and CEO of Inspiration of #LovePurse; Cherita Ellens, president and CEO of Women Employed; John Rogers Jr., co-CEO of Ariel Investments; and Sheila A. Weinberg, founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting. These leaders, known for their significant contributions to their respective fields, shared their insights on the economic and social challenges facing Social Security today.

Social Security, a fundamental safety net for millions of Americans, faces a looming financial challenge. Per current projections, without legislative intervention, beneficiaries could see a reduction of about 20% in their Social Security payments within the next decade. This could mean an average loss of $4,000 per year for each recipient, a significant cut that would undoubtedly affect their ability to manage everyday expenses like prescriptions, groceries and gas.

AARP Illinois and financial leaders work to protect Social Security
Chartay Robinson, associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP; and Philippe Largent, state director, AARP Illinois (Photo credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre for rolling out)

During the discussion, the urgency of the situation was underscored by the panelists who called on both citizens and policymakers to recognize the immediacy of the issue. Maria Castro highlighted the role of Social Security as a critical support structure that many Americans rely on, not just for their retirement, but also as a stabilizing force for the broader economy. Cherita Ellens emphasized the disproportionate impact potential cuts could have on women and marginalized communities, who often depend more heavily on these benefits.

John Rogers Jr. discussed the need for innovative financial strategies to ensure the viability of Social Security funds, while Sheila A. Weinberg pointed out the necessity for transparent accounting and fiscal honesty in government reporting. Together, they called for a bipartisan approach to reform, stressing that safeguarding Social Security is not just a political issue, but a moral imperative to protect the most vulnerable.

The event also included a call to action, urging the public to take the Social Security Pledge to tell candidates and elected officials of the critical need for a bipartisan solution. AARP Illinois emphasized that protecting Social Security is a fight that requires the support and voice of every citizen to ensure that future generations can also benefit from this vital program.

This initiative by AARP Illinois serves as a pivotal moment for Social Security discussions in Chicago, bringing together community leaders, policymakers, and the public in a collective effort to address one of the most pressing economic issues facing the nation today.

The message was clear: the time for action is now. With the dedication and collaborative efforts of leaders and citizens alike, there is hope for a secure and sustainable future for Social Security, ensuring that it continues to serve as a cornerstone of financial security for all Americans.

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