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Retirement fairs put post-work assumptions to the test
MADISON, Wis. (5/13/14)--The National Credit Union Foundation's retirement fairs appear poised for growth that, with some good fortune and planning, could mirror that of the similar financial reality fairs that credit unions offer to students.

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In just a year-and-a-half throughout Illinois, more than 560 people have participated in retirement fairs, and 70 credit union staff and volunteers have completed the "train-the-trainer" program which teaches people how to host and conduct the fairs.

The Illinois Credit Union Foundation introduced the National Credit Union Foundation's (NCUF) "Route Your Retirement" retirement fair program during the fall of 2012.
The interactive fair is designed to have people think more carefully about the type of lifestyle they would like to pursue in retirement and then link it to their financial plan.

Participants visit seven lifestyle booths during the fair. At each booth they ponder a series of questions and then make an assessments about how much they will most likely spend on that aspect of their retirement lifestyle. After visiting each booth they then hear how to link their lifestyle choices to their retirement savings.

Participants are strongly encouraged to get detailed advice from a retirement planner who will help them assess whether they are on track to be able to finance the lifestyle options they chose. A participant takes between 45 and 60 minutes to complete the process.

With support from CUNA Mutual Group, NCUF offers retirement fairs for leagues and credit unions nationwide. For example, credit unions in Illinois have embraced the fairs as an effective way to educate adults about the importance of saving for retirement.

"It is a new, fresh approach to an important subject," said Melanie Murphy, Illinois Credit Union Foundation manager. "The fairs are a great way for credit unions to interact with members and potential members that provides educational value to the participants and also allows the credit unions to showcase how they can help people throughout their lives."

The New Jersey Credit Union Foundation recently announced it would offer the program to state credit unions at no cost. The foundation hosted an informational session on the retirement fair earlier this year. Based on interest from credit unions, the foundation decided to adopt the program, the New Jersey Credit Union League reported (The Daily Exchange May 12).


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