Retirees Hosed

Retirees feeling very confident of a financially secure retirement fell to 29% in April, down from 41% a year earlier, according to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington — the lowest level in 10 years.

And for good reason. The weak economy has hit older adults of every income and age level, said Richard Johnson, principal research associate at the Urban Institute, a research group based in Washington. The 40% of older adults who rely almost completely on Social Security are hit hardest by inflation and high prices of food, energy and health care. Younger retirees trying to augment income with jobs are limited by the increasingly sour labour market. Retirees who have savings are seeing their income fall due to lower interest rates and falling dividends. “It’s hitting them all,” said Mr. Johnson.

Even though the market has recovered somewhat, retirement accounts have lost about 18% of their value over the past 12 months, according to an Urban Institute report issued earlier this month. Many older adults don’t have time to recoup those losses.

“My income is dropping very fast because interest rates have fallen. And my expenses are going up,” said Ms. Blanco, who retired 22 years ago as a librarian. Some Devonshire residents pay up to $400 a month for medication. “I don’t feel comfortable and I don’t know what to do,” she said.

Photo: Noahstone

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