One of the most widespread misconceptions about retirement is getting by just fine in your golden years on Social Security and Medicare.
Many retirees are, in fact, unable to cover their basic expenses. University of Massachusetts researchers recently found that more than half of the nation’s senior citizens cannot meet their basic needs. If nothing is done, the situation will only become worse: by 2030, the number of people beyond 18 in the United States is predicted to outweigh the number of people under the age of 18 in the United States.
We sat down with three women who are spearheading initiatives to make their communities more age-friendly to get their take on how they’re tackling the affordability challenge and what you should know to better prepare for retirement.
There is no way we can afford to rely only on Social Security and Medicare.
More than a quarter of older persons feel they can retire comfortably on Social Security alone, but this is not the reality.
Laura Trejo, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Aging, said of Medicare and Social Security benefits: “It’s a fantastic assistance, but it’s not everything they need.”
Since the quantity of your monthly benefit check can vary depending on various circumstances, such as when you begin claiming Social Security and your work history, it’s natural that many are perplexed.
If you build a profile on the SSA’s website, you will get an estimate of your future benefits. An annual statement with expected benefits used to be sent to all Americans, but the federal government abandoned that practice.) Only individuals over the age of 60 who haven’t set up an online account will get a printed statement in the mail.) The SSA warns you won’t know the actual amount of your benefit until you apply, so don’t take any of these estimates as gospel.
However, a simple rule of thumb might be helpful: A middle-income earners are replaced by Social Security at roughly 40 percent on average. Up to 75 percent of low-wage employees’ income would be replaced, while high earners will get only 25 percent of their previous income. The typical monthly payment is projected at $1,543.
There are many situations when I have to answer the question, ‘Why do you need more?’ “You already have this,” says Trejo. Among the things she emphasizes is that many Californians relying only on Social Security are “falling behind every month,” as she puts it.
If a single adult in Los Angeles County is in good health, owns a house, and has paid off their mortgage, they require a monthly salary of at least $1,552 to survive. According to the senior index, a tool that estimates the monthly income needed to live as an older person in places throughout the United States, poor health plus mortgage or rent payments may rapidly boost that amount to far above $3,000 per month.
Are you a part of the problem of rising retirement costs? There may be an increase in health care prices in retirement compared to your working years. Medicare isn’t free, yet many individuals nearing retirement believe it is. Medicare requires seniors to pay the total cost of their premiums, which are usually covered by their employers’ health insurance.
In retirement, a couple might expect to spend $300,000 on Medicare premiums, copays, and medications, according to Fidelity Investments. And it doesn’t even include the majority of expenses associated with long-term care. Nursing homes assisted living facilities, and home health aides who help seniors with activities of daily living such as bathing and feeding are not covered by Medicare (the program covers short, rehabilitative stays following surgery).
If you’re faced with an emergency financial situation and don’t have enough cash in savings to cover the cost, an emergency loan could be able to help. Check out Payday Now packages.
Keep an eye out for overspending.
Social Security’s insufficiency and the rising living expense have made saving more critical than ever. Putting off preparing for retirement because you or a loved one thinks Social Security will cover your needs is a recipe for disaster. If you want to have a comfortable retirement, it’s more critical than ever to deposit a percentage of your salary into a retirement account each month.
Retirement is a joy when you’re financially stable, says New York City Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez of the NYC Department for the Aging. She relies less and less on the “three-legged stool” of a pension, Social Security, and retirement funds to support herself and her family. Some of your financial luxuries have diminished.”
One in four Americans hasn’t saved for retirement, and that’s because it’s a difficult task to do so. If, on the other hand, your projected retirement income is less than your projected expenditures, saving even a tiny amount now is critical. Even a year’s delay in protecting may cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
Your local aging agency may be able to assist folks who are on a tight budget.
Workers at your city’s Department for the Aging may seem inactive. Yet, they serve a rapidly expanding population and can answer concerns about how to survive on a fixed income in retirement.
In the early days of the epidemic, Cleveland residents phoned the office of the director of aging, Mary McNamara, to inquire about where they might purchase face masks. Some of her most emotional and heartwarming phone conversations ever, she said. The shows McNamara’s crew delivered were often dropped off by car. While working with senior housing facilities, they ensured those most isolated received what they required.
Masks are a particular example of a pandemic, but local groups on aging strive to link older folks with the food delivery and home care and other services they need to get by and age in place. The Eldercare Locator provided by the government Administration on Aging will help you find a local organization.