According to the Wall Street Journal, the generation currently reaching retirement age is the least prepared since Harry Truman was president back in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Americans nearing their golden years are concerned that there may not be enough in their retirement accounts to live the retirement they planned.
There are several contributing factors to this scary situation. Close to 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age every day and the younger workforce isn’t able to contribute enough to cover Social Security costs. Some studies have also shown that more than half of those in the 60's were financially supporting either a child or elderly parent. Add to this education debt, unexpected medical bills, and the aftermath of the 2008 stock market collapse and it’s easy to see why this issue deserves more attention.
This issue did not come out of the blue. Washington has been aware of an impending retirement crisis but interventions have been pushed aside to deal with more time-sensitive issues like healthcare, job creation, and any number of foreign and domestic issues.
The recent market fluctuations have been a bit unsettling for those preparing to retire, particularly since many are just starting to recover from the financial collapse a little more a decade ago. Time is running out and those whose job it is to figure out a solution need to start paying attention. The combination of this loss of retirement savings with talk about how most people are having trouble making ends meet is having a real effect on how people view the economy.
While most people still have a positive view of the economy, that attitude is steadily declining and has been since the last presidential election. Most people do not feel they will be directly affected by a recession but when specifically asked about retirement, about 40% of people surveyed felt that they would not be able to retire when they wanted to. Some thought they may have to work a few more years while others were unsure if they would ever retire.
Saving for retirement used to be simpler but the unplanned costs of taking care of elderly parents, paying off student loans or medical bills, or helping adult children get on their feet is really taking a toll on the financial future of a lot of Americans who are quickly reaching retirement age. While Washington may not be paying attention now, soon, they will not have a choice.
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