Outliving one's resources and falling into poverty is an increasingly common experience among today's senior citizens, according to a new report produced jointly by the Heller School's Institute on Assets and Social Policy and the public policy research and advocacy organization Demos.
And, researchers say, the situation could deteriorate further if cuts in Social Security are made.
The report, "From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity On the Rise," found that seniors have too few resources and too little time to plan for a fulfilling retirement.
In only four years, the ranks of seniors at risk of outliving their resources increased by nearly 2 million households. Using the Senior Financial Stability Index, economic insecurity among senior households increased by one-third, rising from 27 percent to 36 percent from 2004 to 2008. This steady and dramatic increase was in progress even before the full force of the Great Recession hit.
While effects of the recession hit all demographic groups, the economic security of seniors has deteriorated more than the security of other groups. In addition to the one of every three seniors who is economically insecure, 40 percent of senior households are financially vulnerable - neither secure nor insecure according to the Senior Financial Security Index. Thus, three-quarters of all senior households have little or no buffer against financial ruin should they be faced with an unexpected illness or other traumatic life event.
In the hardest hit senior populations in America - households of color and senior single women - 50 percent fall into this economically insecure category, unsure of how to finance even the most basic necessities.
To stem the growing crisis, the report proposes:
strengthening Social Security for vulnerable groups, such as low-income earners and those with sporadic attachment to the labor market due to caregiving and other responsibilities
supporting a strong Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS Act) to enable working adults the opportunity to plan for future long-term care needs, such as in-home services, adult day health or institutional care.
"It's simply a crime that in our wealthy and vibrant nation 36 percent of seniors live in a state of uncertainty - unsure of whether they can afford basic necessities," says Tatjana Meschede, research director at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and co-author of the report.
"Instead of working to fix this crisis, the debate in Washington is dominated by those who argue that the only way to reduce the deficit is by dramatically altering Medicare and Social Security," she said. "These reckless proposals will only worsen current trends and further undermine the economic prospects of future seniors."
Jennifer Wheary, Demos senior fellow, says millions of seniors in America live day to day; this is a multigenerational problem, not a senior problem.
"We cannot end senior economic insecurity without addressing the early sources of this grave issue," says Wheary. "We must take steps to strengthen pension provisions to ensure the stability of employer and employee investments if we want to ensure millions retire with the funds they need and deserve."For more information visit iasp.brandeis.edu or download the report
Susan Chaityn Lebovits | EurekAlert!
New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences