In America today, millions upon millions of senior citizens are very deep in debt. In fact, more elderly Americans than ever before are going bankrupt. Millions of others are living in extreme poverty or are just barely getting by on meager fixed incomes. Meanwhile, the price of food is going up, the price of gasoline is going up, the cost of heating homes is going up and health insurance premiums are absolutely soaring. Millions of our senior citizens suddenly find themselves financially squeezed more than they ever have been in their entire lives. Unfortunately, at the same time all of this is happening, our government officials are realizing that they simply don’t have the money to keep the financial promises that they have been making to our retirees. Sadly, what this all means is that for millions of our senior citizens, the only future they have to look forward to is one filled with debt, poverty and financial pain.
One recent survey conducted by CESI Debt Solutions discovered that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired. That is a shockingly high number. Retirement is not supposed to be about debt. In fact, it is hard enough to try to survive on a fixed income without having to worry about debt payments. But now most Americans that retire do so with debt still on the books.
What is even more sad is that an increasing number of senior citizens are going bankrupt. A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies. This is obviously very troubling news. In fact, between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.
Many elderly Americans are under such financial stress these days that they have simply decided never to retire. According to a recent AARP survey of Baby Boomers, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”.
What about you?
Do you plan to work until you drop?
If not, how are you going to make it?
Are you planning to depend on the government?
The sad truth is that our state and local governments are broke and they are starting to realize that there is simply no way that they can fulfill all of the financial promises that they have made to those that are now retiring. Just consider the following quote from a recent Natural News article about the crisis New York state is currently facing….
New York State, along with its cities and counties, have promised $200 billion worth of retirement health care benefits to their employees, and no one knows where that money is going to come from, according to a study conducted by the Empire Center for New York State Policy.
But it isn’t just state and local governments that are facing horrific financial problems. In a previous article entitled “In 2011 The Baby Boomers Start To Turn 65: 16 Statistics About The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Drop Your Jaw“, I detailed the horrific financial crunch that Medicare and the Social Security system will be facing in the years ahead. The sad truth is that Medicare and Social Security could potentially bankrupt the U.S. government all by themselves even without all of the other massive financial challenges that we are now facing.
But even if our politicians are somehow able to borrow enough money to fulfill their promises to those that will be retiring over the next decade, the reality is that it still will not be nearly enough for most elderly Americans to even afford the basics in an environment of rapidly rising prices.
In 2010, agricultural commodity prices exploded and this is putting significant upward pressure on thousands of different products that we buy at the supermarket. According to the United Nations, food prices are now higher than they have ever been before, and there is great concern that food prices are going to rise very, very quickly over the next decade.
Not only that, but oil prices are starting to rise aggressively. A member of Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council recently declared that the price of oil could hit $110 a barrel “within a few weeks”. So how are millions of seniors on a fixed income going to cope when the price of a gallon of gasoline goes to four or five dollars a gallon?
The cost of health insurance is also skyrocketing. For example, according to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California plans to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders could see their health insurance premiums rise by a whopping 59 percent this year.
All of this is causing great concern for millions of elderly Americans that are trying to get by on a fixed income. Millions of senior citizens are honestly frightened about what the future is going to bring. The following is a comment that was recently left by a reader of this column named Jackie….
I have been a stay at home Mom since I was 20. I have one left. I was born in 57 and I have worked in the employment field off and on during my life. I am married. Well, I just got my new social security statement, well they changed it. I used to be getting something and now nothing. So, all my husband and I will get is his social security. We know we are in trouble. We lost our business due to the economics of this world. I know I will have to go back to work, I am for it, but..I know we need to do something drastic to be prepared for our retirement..we can not depend on the government. We are scared. Our five children laugh at us and say things like we are going to have to take care of you guys. Nice thought but in reality…not! No parent wants to be dependant on their children…might be pride..but we want to take care of them. I am worried about our generation, because I see a lot of people just like us out there in the same boat. I am a Christian and I depend on God’s word. He is my only hope.
For those that are younger, it is easy to tell them to just suck it up and work harder. But for millions of Americans in their 70s, 80s and 90s “working harder” simply is not an option.
As the U.S. economy continues to unravel and as the cost of providing the basics continues to go up, large numbers of elderly Americans are going to find themselves unable to heat their homes and unable to afford health care. Many will even find themselves without enough to eat.
But this is where we are at as a nation. We are on the verge of one of the greatest financial disasters the world has ever seen. So hopefully younger Americans will open up their hearts and their homes and will take care of the older members of their families, because millions of them are really going to need it.