Colorado State Professor Headlines Retirement Reform at National Press Club Women’s Conference March 4

Vickie Bajtelsmit, associate professor of finance at Colorado State University, will join 10 distinguished guest speakers participating at the Women’s Agenda Conference March 4 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The conference will feature guest speakers, including Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, who are experts in specific areas of public policy regarding women’s issues. The speakers will talk about solutions to empower individuals, foster fairness and champion individual rights and free enterprise.

Bajtelsmit, who is a nationally known expert on retirement planning and gender differences in investments, will speak following Chao’s talk. Bajtelsmit’s presentation focuses on retirement issues for women.

"Elderly women are twice as likely as elderly men to live below the poverty level," Bajtelsmit said. "The reason is that women are more likely to live alone during retirement and, compared to couples, singles receive less in Social Security benefits, have smaller pensions and less in savings."

Following the Women’s Agenda Conference, position papers from the conference, including Bajtelsmit’s study, will be collected into a book titled "Women’s Agenda," to be published by the National Center for Public Analysis.

Bajtelsmit’s study found that women are more likely to work part-time and for minimum wage and are more likely to drop out of the work force for periods of time to care for family members. These activities cause women to lose benefits under traditional employer-sponsored, defined-benefit retirement programs. Defined contribution plans, like 401(k)s, give women the flexibility to change jobs and retain savings, but often those plans invest too conservatively to build sufficient retirement funds.

Bajtelsmit joined the College of Business at Colorado State in 1991 as an assistant professor of finance. She received her doctorate degree in 1994 at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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