Two Important “Check-ups”
The statistics are sobering. Of the households age 55 and older, 29% have neither retirement savings nor a defined benefit plan according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. Among households age 55-64 with some retirement savings, the median amount is about $104,000. Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and over.
Uncertainty. When I spoke with Maggie Flowers, Associate Director of the National Council on Aging, the “economics” of retirement were her biggest concern for retirees. People don’t have enough saved, and it is extremely difficult to determine just how much money will be needed. No one knows how long they will live, and no one can predict emergencies, health issues, and whether or not they’ll require long-term care.
Work Longer. Many people believe that if they don’t have enough money they will simply extend their working years into retirement, yet up to half of retirees said they had to leave their jobs earlier than expected for health reasons or because of changes in the workplace.
Help Is Available. There is no easy answer, but as the number of baby boomer retirees balloons, the National Council on Aging has implemented a couple of useful online tools. The organization has helped over 5 million people find over $17 billion (it’s not a typo – that’s billion with a “b”) in benefits.
BenefitsCheckup.org. Helps our older citizens find benefit programs through public and private resources which could help pay for basic expenses like medications, health care, food, and more. Applicants will be directed to local offices in the community that can assist with the application process.
EconomicCheckup.org. Provides tips and community resources to help folks manage a budget, save money, find work, and set financial goals. (This site also contains some very good information about financial scams.)
It’s impossible for me to emphasize enough the importance of planning and saving for retirement; however, if you have reached your retirement years without a nest egg in place, I encourage you to visit these two resources for possible assistance.