Looking forward to those golden years...Gulp! (retirement ain't what it used to be)
This is a depressing article, but there are several statistics that offer some food for thought.
Retired Seniors find little Security
Some of the stats that seemed especially depressing to me were as follows:
1. For about 7.7 million Americans older than 65, Social Security is the sole source of income, according to the Social Security Administration.
2. Many seniors -- nearly 3 million nationwide -- are turning to food banks to help stretch their budgets.
3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said one in five low-income households with elderly members had difficulty affording food in 2004.
4. 35 percent of U.S. heads of households have never had a pension plan.
This is a loose tie-in to all of this, but the way our nation's demographics are headed (an older population with fewer young workers), I find it difficult to believe that we are not headed toward some form of socialized medicine at some point. I mean, how can it be avoided? My own in-laws are middle-middle income retirees, but even with health insurance, pensions, and a home that's free and clear, they get eaten alive by medication costs.
Of course, this is not how any of us idealize our retirement years. But for many, if not most of us, the reality is that, not long after we retire we begin to physically fall apart (and for some of us, this happens well in advance of retirement age). And, then, what we've managed to accumulate through savings and, hopefully, wise decisions, immediately becomes endangered.
Is this the American dream? To look forward to spending our last score of years minimalized? No, it's not. But it's why I expect we'll see some fairly profound changes to our society in the next twenty years or so. It will simply be unavoidable when so much of the electorate falls into the senior citizens category.
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