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8 Retirement Facts That May Surprise You

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenJuly 18, 2012
Retirement Facts That May Surprise You

Everyone wants to retire. The problem is that in light of the economic downturn, the average retirement age keeps getting older.

Retiring at age 60 is a pipe dream for many Americans. While you may begin to see visions of retired bliss at this age, the reality is that expectant retirement age has been increasing. According to U.S. News & World Report, for the next 20 years, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day. This is a scary number when we look at the government resources available to support this large of a senior population. Especially to those Americans who have been diligently working for 30+ years to enjoy a fulfilling golden years’ existence.

Retirement Losses and Life Expectancy Rises

Building a nest egg has been especially difficult since the recession hit. Americans hitting retirement age were hit with market declines and limited years to keep contributing to their accounts. Since Americans are living longer these days, this is an especially daunting problem, often referred to as the approaching”Silver Tsunami” crisis.

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Here are 8 startling retirement facts, according to U.S. News & World Report and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  1. Today one in six older Americans lives below the poverty line: A startling $22,350 for a family of four.
  2. The senior citizen population is growing exponentially. For example, today there are approximately 40 million senior citizens, but that number is expected to increase to 89 million by 2050. The aging population will impact everything from housing and health care to travel and employment.
  3. By 2050, we will have a substantially smaller proportion of working people supporting an increasing numbers of retirees. For example, today the ratio of working age citizens compared to seniors over 65 is 5:1. By 2050, the ratio will drop to 3:1.
  4. The cost of assisted living facilities has risen to a national median rate of $3,300 per month, which works out to be $39,600 per year.
  5. Americans 55 and older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies, with the majority due to medical and funeral expenses. In addition, older Americans tend to have more credit card debt than younger Americans. Without delaying retirement, it will be hard for baby boomers to get ahead of their growing debt.
  6. According to Employee Benefit Research Institute calculations, baby boomers born between 1948 and 1954 will need to save an additional 4.3 percent of their annual pay to counteract the impact of the financial and housing crisis in 2008 and 2009. For many people this will require working beyond traditional retirement age in a job market already tight and challenging for older workers; which may not be possible in all instances, requiring further government assistance.
  7. Successful retirement planning requires consistent saving to provide for a time when income is no longer generated from your job. Sadly, according to a 2009 CareerBuilder survey, 35% of Americans say they don’t contribute to retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA.
  8. Age discrimination on the job is an increasingly common occurrence as more seniors remain in or re-enter the job force. In a recent study published in the journal Research on Aging, 63 percent of older adults say they have experienced discrimination.

Did any of these facts surprise you?  Do you think something else needs to be done about the matter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen

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