Retiree Majority Can’t Afford Daily Expenses

Millions of older Americans have trouble meeting their daily expenses, according to a new study released by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), an organization dedicated to economic independence for America’s families. Many look to government solutions to help cover that gap, WOW finds.

A majority of elder households have insufficient income based on the Elder Economic Security Standard (Elder Index), says the study, “Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans.”

And in order to avoid deepening the financial crisis that a growing number of older households are facing, it’s imperative to maintain a national commitment to government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other “gap-filling” policies and programs.


“Growing old in America is getting more and more expensive.  Even though we may not be able to avoid getting older, we can’t afford it either,” said Donna Addkison, President and CEO of WOW, in a statement.  “Working hard is no guarantee you’ll be able to cover your most basic expenses when you retire.”

Massachusetts seniors appear to be the most economically insecure, with a median budget shortfall of more than $10,000 a year, using the Elder Index, followed by D.C., New York, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

Although this gap narrows to $1,000 or $2,000 in states such as Alaska, Montana, and Utah,”no region of the country offers a safe haven for older adults.”

View the state rankings by economic security gap here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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  • Stories of the need of seniors in retirement are far too common in 2012.  Yet they seem to fall on deaf ears when it comes to the White House.

    Along with these kinds of stories, our industry needs to communicate information about how more affluent seniors obtained HECMs and why.  We need to better understand their needs and goals.

    Most of us understand how a HECM helps a senior who have need for basics but few understand how to reach out to the more affluent to help their perceive how a HECM would help them despite their lack of a need for a loan of last resort.

    As someone has said:  “Your industry is great at helping the truly needy but lousy with almost anyone else.”  We need to expand and grow.  

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