How are seniors doing?

I have my own doubts about the credibility of the TSCL, and their surveys, nevertheless they receive a great deal of publicity even after continuously overstating the 2033 Social Security COLA throughout 2022.

Today The Senior Citizens League is reporting that from January through December, the 5.9% COLA fell short of actual inflation every month by 46% on average and left the average Social Security benefit of $1,656 short by more than $42 per month and more than $508 for the year.

Prices in November were up 7.1% compared to a year ago as measured by the latest Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), the index used to calculate the annual COLA, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, Social Security benefits in 2022 were only increased by 5.9%.

The result is that many retirees have been forced to spend through savings far more quickly than planned, TSCL says, and those without savings have turned to food pantries and low-income assistance programs in higher numbers.

Recent surveys of adults aged 65 and up by TSCL found that 33% of survey participants reported applying for food stamps or visiting a food pantry over the past 12 months versus 22% in 2020. The survey also found that 17% have applied for assistance with heating costs compared to 10% in 2020.

401k Specialist

“Forced to spend savings more quickly than planned.” If one had planned, then periods of high inflation would be accounted for. Curious how such a high level of self reported food assistance is needed. In 2021, the national poverty rate for people ages 65 and over was 10.3%, significantly lower than the poverty rate for all people and the child poverty rate.

Except for those in poverty all their lives, I find it increasingly hard to be empathetic toward seniors who had a lifetime to plan for retirement. Most of the federal budget subsidizes seniors, not counting the tax advantages available for retirement savings. I just don’t think we seniors deserve more at the expense of children and working families.

4 comments

  1. I guess TSCL wants us Boomers to have even more than the 68 Trillion in assets to pass on to our heirs.

    My 92 year old mother Is doing just fine on $800 per month Social Security.
    She lives with my 73 year old sister and 66 year old son in law. She even pays $200 per month rent, as she says I’ve always paid my way. Total household income of $36,000 per year, in North Texas.
    No house payment, no credit cards, no car payments, with three cars, paid off. $140 food assistance and state QMB pays my mom’s Medicare premium.

    I am doing even better with $43,000 in retirement income. Living in a lower cost of living area, in Montana. Just made my 8th car payment in 2 months, total = $4,148.76. On track to pay off the $21,762 car loan in less than 14 months, while also paying off $10,900 in zero interest credit card debt. I paid $23 in State income tax and zero Federal income tax, for 2021. and Montana does not have a general sales tax.

    My wife and I are planning a road trip across the USA in May of 2023. We will be on the road about 45 days. The trip will be on credit cards for the cash back, but all credit card bills will be paid before any interest is due.

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  2. Dick,
    I agree with your assessment. Seniors have had a lifetime to save and those who have not put aside some kind of a nest egg will simply just need to continue to work well past the ‘normal’ retirement age so that they can afford a better lifestyle. That is the ‘punishment’ for poor planning. That being said I think there are exceptions such as those who because of extraordinary medical expenses are left poor and so don’t have the large nest egg.
    How about a more common outcome, that being the poor souls who work at a decent job for twenty five or thirty years and just when they start to earn a decent salary and have paid all their childrens educational costs etc find themselves displaced and without a job and at 55+ or so are subjugated to some menial job at a much lower pay. For these folks I have pity and hope that we could fashion a fairer system of payout perhaps using their percent of years at what was the normal/high pay over the course of their working years as opposed to a straight numerical calculation in arriving at their social security payment. Say for instance if they earned 60k in 1985 and that went up by some average percent over the next 30 years and then in 2015 when they were up to a pay of $100k their pay was dropped because they were declared excess and now had to take a job at say 45K and so for the last 8 years their average pay dropped substantially such that their SS pension is based on what was aa decent pay in 2015 but now is $20-25k below where they would have been and so the good of the 30 years of decent pay is adversely affected by their being a victim of the corporate greed. Perhaps the individual should be given a make up pension amount as compensation for the often unnwarranted dismissal of the affected employee. That also might make the instance of such unfair work practices less common? Something to think about ??

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  3. I retired early at age 55. The two things that I was worried about were and still are skyrocketing medical costs and inflation. I graduated high school in 1980 when the country had some of the highest inflation rates since WWII. I would not have retired if I didn’t think that I could deal with inflation.

    I also think that current baby boomers seniors forgot the lessons that their parents learned during the Great Depression. SAVE. I think they also taught their children, with the government’s help to spend. The government encourages people to go into debt. The government leads by example too by their spending. The government wants people to take on students loans. Buy a new car to keep the auto workers employed. Buy more house than you can afford. Debt fuels our society now and one day that house of cards will collapse. We are quickly changing from a free society wanting personal liberty and responsibility to a society of government dependance for our daily needs and are willing to give up our freedoms so that someone else will pay.

    At no time was I ever promised that Social Security was going to be my retirement pension. I do not feel sorry for anybody who thought it was going to be their ticket to easy street.

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    1. True. My Dad said, what made this country great is credit. If everyone had to wait til they had cash to pay for a car, the auto industry would go broke, along with the auto workers.

      On the other hand, he had a cure for traffic congestion. Make a law that you can’t license or drive your car until it’s paid off.

      “Money is like an arm or a leg. Use it or lose it.” – Henry Ford

      May be, we aren’t doing so bad after all.

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