I’m pretty good at math, so I did some the other day. I wanted to figure out where I stood, retirement-wise. It turns out, I won’t be standing, but sitting right here in front of the computer monitor working. Social security and our meager savings will not come close to allowing us to live comfortably here in The People’s Republic of Massachusetts. And with our first grandchild due next month, I’ve abandoned all hope of convincing Martha to move.
As it turns out, though, we’re not alone. Lots of others are facing seniorhood with less-than-stellar financial resources, too.
Poverty rates have been rising for older Americans. They’re not alone, of course. The meager recovery from the recession has left millions of us worse off. Younger people can at least hope for a rebound when things get better. But it is hard to find a silver lining in any of the clouds that hang over older folks.
Tax rates are set to rise. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are under the gun. Federal and state spending will be under pressure for years, if not decades. And the flood of aging baby boomers promises to intensify demand for senior health and safety-net programs, just when it’s clear that the money for any expanded efforts is just not there.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently took a look at poverty rates among people age 50 and older, and how they changed between 2001 and 2009. Looking at four different groups of older people, here is how their poverty rates have changed:
Ages 50 to 64: from 9.1 percent in 2001 to 12.3 percent in 2009
Ages 65 to 74: from 8.4 percent to 9.4 percent
Ages 75 to 84: from 8.8 percent to 10.7 percent
Ages 85 and older: from 15.9 percent in 2001 to 14.6 percent in 2009
Number 3 on the list, delaying retirement, is not even an option for me. It’s a necessity.
Even if I do delay collecting Social inSecurity until I’m 70, we still won’t have enough to live on comfortably. So the bottom line of my math exercise is, barring a big lottery win, I’ll be working until I die.
What’s your situation?
If you’re approaching “that age,” will you have enough to retire comfortably?
If you’re younger, do you have a concrete plan to generate enough savings to retire?
And how do you feel the nation’s ongoing shift to socialism will affect you?