Older Americans Falling Into Poverty As They Age

According to an analysis of data from the University of Michigan done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, poverty rates have increased every year since 2005 for older Americans and are worst among the oldest of the elderly. In 2009, 15 percent of Americans over the age of 85 were living in poverty and 6.0 percent of them fell into poverty after turning 85. The data suggests people are spending their retirement savings too quickly and falling into poverty as they grow older. Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the report, said, as people age, their personal savings and pension account balances are depleted and their medical expenses increase. The study found that people living in poverty were far more likely to be suffering from health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes than people living above the poverty line. The odds of suffering a health condition of some sort goes up 45 to 55 percent for Americans living in poverty. More here and here.

Americans Express Lack Of Confidence In Finances

The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual retirement confidence survey finds Americans once again expressing concern about their ability to afford retirement. Among respondents, only 14 percent say they are very confident they’ll have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Medical expenses and long-term care costs remain among their chief concerns, ranking far below their confidence in their ability to pay basic expenses. And though current retirees express a higher level of confidence than current workers, retirees also say they are significantly more reliant on social security as a major source of income than workers expect to be. Also in the report, the number of workers who said they expect to retire after age 65 has risen to 37 percent, up from 11 percent in 1991. And 60 percent of workers say the total amount of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home, is less than $25,000. More here.

Only 14 Percent Of Americans Expect To Retire Comfortably

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 22nd Annual Retirement Confidence Survey, just 14 percent of Americans say they are very confident that they’ll have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. The new survey finds retirement confidence at historically low levels due largely to job uncertainty, which ranked highest among the most pressing financial issues facing surveyed participants. Being able to afford healthcare expenses and long-term care costs also ranked high among retirement fears. Current workers expressed more concern about their finances than the already retired, though current retirees relied more heavily on Social Security than current workers expect to. Among current workers, 60 percent report that their total savings and investments, not including their primary home and benefit plans, is less than $25,000. More here.