Research shows that 56% of Americans don’t have $1,000 to cover the costs of an emergency. A typical person has a median net worth of $200,000. That includes the value of equity in their homes. That is not close to enough money for someone who plans to retire at age 65.
A savings sum of $200,000 might yield $10,000 a year if people sell their homes and put what they get into stocks and bonds. The stock market’s sell-off has eroded that figure for millions of people. Social Security might add another $25,000 annually, but people must pay for Medicare and taxes. To add insult to industry, some politicians want to cut Social Security benefits.
These figures show that many Americans who retire are essentially broke. They need to live on as little as $30,000 a year. Consider the cost of renting a resident, food, clothing, and transportation, which covers both gas and the price of a car.
What do Americans over 65 years old do? According to Pew, more and more old people have moved in with their children. That sharply cuts their living costs, but this is not a solution for many older people. They may not have children to support them. They may have children who don’t want them. People pay to raise their children but don’t get any of that back when they are old.
The retirement income problem is worse than several decades ago because people live longer. More and more Americans live into their 80s. And many of these eat through whatever retirement money they have compared to if they died at 70. Dying young has at least one advantage.
There are very few solutions for people who do not have retirement nest eggs because they spent too much money when they were working, made only a modest amount of money, or have homes with little positive equity. Some people work well beyond the standard retirement age of 65 to help enhance income. However, some are pushed out of jobs because they are old. That may not be legal in some places, but it happens, nevertheless.
Unfortunately, many older Americans take low-paying jobs that are paid by the hour. And these jobs often pay well under $20 an hour. You can see them at McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Walmart. If they can, many work into their 80s. They never enjoy the “golden years” of retirement because they work until they are too old to work or cannot find jobs anymore. (These are several popular and easy ways to make extra money in retirement.)
Retirement in America is a bad deal for many of the old, but there is not any way to solve the problem. “What a drag it is getting old.” This is what is costs to retire comfortably in every state.
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