Retirement is top concern for many Americans

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Lower-income, older Americans aren’t enjoying retirement age

Turns out we can’t enjoy our golden years without actual gold.

AARP says 48 percent Americans aged 62 and older feel some degree of loneliness, and income is a major contributor to that feeling. Those with an income below $25,000 are the loneliest.

“The results of this study make it clear that income is a significant factor in social connectedness,” says Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation. “We need more research examining the effects of loneliness and social isolation on low-income older adults and other, often marginalized groups so that we can develop effective strategies to increase social connections.”

According to the study, almost half of all participants say they felt some sort of loneliness: 48 percent. One of the biggest indicators of loneliness is income.

“Lonely older adults are significantly more likely to have an annual household income of less than $25,000 and assets less than $10,000, and are more likely overall to be in the lowest income group,” the study says.

Loneliness is real and can happen to you

Financial optimism is high right now, but feeling positive doesn’t mean you’re bound for a lifetime of happiness. Not if you aren’t planning for your future right now.

Think about your long-term health. Many states around the country are making residents pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for room in an assisted living facility. At minimum, you could be paying tens of thousands for home health care. Are you ready to shell out your hard-earned cash for that? What if you don’t have the cash for that?

And it’s not great when broken down by gender, either. Due to women earning less over their lifetimes compared to men, they’re saving less in the long run. This means that when it comes to retirement, women are faring way worse than men.

Women are stashing away more than $43,000 less than their male counterparts. Taking a career break to raise children could also be a factor, as many are still the primary caretakers. Putting off a career for a family is still a decision many women make, which seems to only contribute to their long-term financial setbacks.

To be fair, your demographics don’t dictate your retirement. Regardless of location, sex, and other factors, most retirees or those nearing retirement age fear running out of money. Time and again, it’s one of — if not thee biggest — source of financial stress among older Americans. They’re so scared that they will outlive their income that money freaks them out more than death.

Because retirement-age Americans can’t cope with the idea of running out of money, many can’t even fathom the idea of living until 100 years of age or beyond.

If you want to avoid loneliness and financial stress when you’re older, head to our Solutions Center to make sure your finances and budget are in order to save now — while you can.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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