First, the good news. According to a leading investment firm, current retirees are doing just fine. They studied a large group of retirees. They’re doing very well. The group that retired about 20 years ago have about 80% of their retirement savings intact. In fact, one-third of these retirees have more money than when they retired.
But here’s the bad news. These retirees are different from those retiring today or those just beginning their careers. Their experiences are different and so are their resources.
If you have been retired for 20 years that makes you about 85 years old. These older retirees grew up during the “Great Depression” and that had a lifelong impact on them. Their experience made them lifelong savers. Many also worked for companies that provided their employees defined benefit pension plans.
This means is that many of these pensioners have two sources of income: a company pension and social security. Living within their means, they were able to leave their personal retirement assets untouched.
Some of the more affluent may have bought vacation homes which have appreciated in value. Others have begun gifting to their children and grandchildren.
We can’t infer from their success that newer retirees will do nearly as well. There are several reasons why. Except for government employees, few private sector employees have defined benefit pension plans. Social Security is under pressure and will simply not have enough in the Trust Fund to continue to pay retirees at the same rate as current retirees. Medicare is also running large deficits which will result in higher medical expenses for the elderly.
New and future retirees will not have private pensions, face lower social security income and higher medical expenses. Only saving and investing wisely will save them.
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