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Posted on September 2, 2008

“Scary times” for Future Retirees

The current generation of retirees is relatively prosperous. But this may be a historical anomaly, and old age may once again become, for many, a time for poverty, according to an Associated Press report.

AP interviewed several retired delegates to the Democratic convention as well as experts at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

All confirmed the same general trend: the cost of living, especially for seniors, is rising even as the safety nets that traditionally protected seniors are fraying. The result is that ever more retirees are struggling to make ends meet.

The past several decades have been a good time to be retired in America, historically speaking. Medicare was introduced in 1965, Social Security was expanded in the 1970s to provide ample retirement benefits, and pension programs that began proliferating after World War II have provided reliably for many.

Just more than 9 percent of the 65-and-older population was living in poverty in 2006, according to U.S. Census data — the lowest in the more than four decades of tabulating the category…

”Those 65 or older have long been the poor population, and that really has changed for a very short window — 30 or at the most 40 years,” said Steven Sass, research director at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. ”Now we’re seeing a contraction of those income support systems that supported the elderly — namely Social Security and worker pensions.”

In other words, if nothing is done, we may see a return to the days when older people (they weren’t called senior citizens back then) were largely objects of pity. AAFR is committed to ensuring that that doesn’t happen!

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