By Hayley Hervieux
Your retirement may be in jeopardy, according to a recently released study by AARP’s Public Policy Institute. Texas is no exception.
According to the Middle Class Security Project, the American middle class is increasingly struggling to meet goals for a financially secure retirement.
The study highlights several trends that have contributed to this decline, a problem that AARP is taking very seriously. In a a speech delivered at the National Press Club in D.C. earlier this month, AARP CEO Barry Rand identified rising health care costs and financial insecurity as the two main factors affecting people’s retirement.
“These trends place even more importance on Social Security as a source of retirement income... And, for the nearly one-third of middle-class workers who will fall into having low incomes in retirement, Social Security will represent over 80 percent of their retirement income,” Rand said. ( Read the full speech.)
In Texas, where there are around 3 million Social Security beneficiaries, an incredible 88% of older Texans receive benefits. In fact, more than a third of older Texans rely on it as their only source of income. As health care costs rise, more and more of those checks go towards the costs of health care, medicine, and other items, lowering spending power and ultimately affecting financial security.
This is why the results of the study’s report on health care costs are so troubling. According to the report, health care expenses increased by 51% over the past decade—nearly double the growth in average income. And that's only one data point in the study.
Other trends include increasing credit card debt and lack of employment opportunities, which—along with the impact of the Great Recession—means that the middle class is less prepared for retirement than generations past. People are working longer, tightening their belts, and depending on income sources such as Social Security more than in the past.
Photo courtesy AJ Guel