Posted on 07 August 2012
By Mark Miller
Are you going to retire in poverty?
Today’s seniors are more affluent than the general population. But the generations that follow them – starting with the baby boom generation – will not be as fortunate. The decline of pensions, the erosion of Social Security and the housing crash all are pointing toward a new crisis of poverty among lower- and middle-class seniors in the years ahead.
Social Security and pensions, in particular, have been the two most important factors in keeping seniors out of poverty for decades. Both provide reliable, guaranteed income sources for life. And home equity has been an important fall-back source of assets that can be tapped in retirement. That is because seniors typically have more equity built up in their homes than younger homeowners and carry less debt into retirement.
Indeed, the poverty rate for seniors in 2010 (the most recent year available) was just 9 percent, compared with 15 percent for the general U.S. population.