A new poll of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center has found an increasing amount of anxiety over retirement savings but a shift in which Americans are expressing the most concern. In 2009, baby boomers were the most worried about funding their retirement but now adults in their late 30s and 40s are the least confident in their income and savings. Among adults between the ages of 36 and 40, more than half say they are not confident their assets will last through retirement, while only 34 percent of people ages 60 to 64 said the same. Overall, the number of Americans who express anxiety about financing their retirement has risen since 2009. According to Pew, the share of adults who aren’t confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has risen from 25 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in the latest poll. More here.
A collection of retirement research compiled by Business Insider paints an alarming picture of the nation’s retirement readiness. For example, 30 percent of workers in 2012 said they had less than $1,000 in savings and only 14 percent said they were confident they’d have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. But a lack of adequate savings isn’t just a problem for Americans currently in the workforce. Retirees also expressed a lack of sufficient funds. Among current retirees, nearly 75 percent said they hadn’t saved enough and, if they could do it all over, would save more. Also, half of current retirees said they left their job due to health problems, disability, or being laid off, underscoring the importance of being properly financially prepared. More here.
Among people over the age of 65, more than half have at least three chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or Alzheimer’s disease. But, according to a new report from the American Geriatrics Society, healthcare providers often follow standard clinical guidelines for an individual disease when they may not be the safest or most effective treatment for a patient with multiple conditions. Cynthia M. Boyd, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said a clinician prescribing medications according to standard guidelines for an individual disease may end up with a patient who is taking too many medications and running a risk for drug interactions and harmful side effects. The report recommends a number of guiding principles for caring for seniors with multiple health problems, such as considering patient preferences, weighing risks, benefits, and burdens, interpreting research, and accounting for the complexity and feasibility of treatment options. More here.
As life expectancies grow, so do the number of studies exploring the options for older workers, social security, and retirement. One such study, from the University of Michigan, looks at the idea of eliminating social security payroll taxes for workers over the age of 55 in order to encourage them to continue working rather than opting for retirement. The research found that workers would receive a 10.6 percent increase in their take-home pay and would choose to stay on the job an additional year and a half to take advantage of the extra income. Rewarding older workers would benefit seniors as they financially prepare for retirement but would also be good for the economy as a whole. The study used data from the University of Michigan’s institute for Social Research and the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More here and here.
A new study, published in the journal Circulation, found a possible link between the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs and increased risks for heart attack survivors. Among 100,000 survivors of first heart attacks, nearly half filled a prescription for a NSAID, such as Celebrex, Voltaren, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. Among those who used the anti-inflammatory drugs, there was a 59 percent higher risk of death from any cause within one year of having the heart attack and a 30 percent higher risk of having another heart attack. After five years, the risk of death increased to 63 percent. Though researchers can’t say the use of NSAIDs were directly responsible for the elevated risk, the study highlights the need for caution when using anti-inflammatory drugs following a heart attack. More here.
According to a new AARP report, 80 percent of baby boomers who were unemployed in 2010 were still out of work late last year. The report, which surveyed boomers on their financial well being following the recent recession, discovered that Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 continued to struggle three years after the official end of the recession. Because older workers have less time to recover from a job loss, the recession was particularly difficult for salaried employees in their 50s and 60s. Even among those who were able to find work, less than half said they were back on track financially because of lost savings or having to take a job for less money. The survey’s findings highlight the economic struggle felt by millions of baby boomers whose retirement plans were changed or altered by the recent recession. More here and here.
More than half of the respondents in a new survey from Consumer Reports said they had to cut back on other household expenses in order to pay for their prescription drugs. In fact, participants reported cutting back on everything from groceries to paying their outstanding bills in order to afford the price of their medication. The survey’s results highlight the fact that healthcare expenses continue to be among Americans’ most pressing financial concerns. Both insured and uninsured respondents reported skipping doses and not filling needed prescriptions because of cost. There were also large numbers of people who said they put off doctor’s visits and declined medical tests and procedures because they could not afford them. John Santa, M.D., director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said it’s important that doctors assist patients who are navigating stressful financial times, especially when part of their stress is affording the healthcare advice their doctor is providing. More here and here.
Women, more than men, say they expect to live past the age of 90. In fact, nearly twice the number of women said they expected to live a long life compared to men in a recent retirement survey. But despite having expectations of living longer, many women haven’t planned adequately for the financial requirements associated with increased longevity. For example, more than half of surveyed women said they respond to financial emergencies by dealing with them when they occur rather than planning for possible scenarios. But though women participants said they didn’t plan in advance, more than 70 percent admitted to being very or somewhat concerned about providing for their long-term care needs. The study highlights the need for women to be properly prepared for their financial needs in retirement. More here.
According to data from two national surveys, the number of older people with vision issues has declined dramatically over the past few decades. In 2010, just 1 in 10 older Americans reported having eyesight problems compared to 1 in 4 in 1984. The drop is likely due to the fact that cataract surgery has become routine, smoking rates have declined, and the available treatments and therapies for diabetes-related vision loss have improved. Over just the past two and half decades, self-reported vision impairment has declined by more than 50 percent. Macular degeneration and age-related vision loss can limit activity and pose a threat to seniors’ independence and safety. More here.
It’s been said that honesty is the best policy and, according to a new study, it may also be best for your health. New research, presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention, suggests that telling lies may have a negative effect on health outcomes. The study included a sample of 110 people, among whom nearly half were asked to stop telling major or minor lies for 10 weeks. Anita E. Kelly, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame and lead author of the study, said evidence indicates that the average American lies 11 times per week. According to Kelly, participants who purposefully reduced their everyday lies saw their health significantly improve. Over the 10 week study, when participants told fewer lies they were also found to have fewer mental and physical health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy or having headaches or sore throats. More here.