Elder law attorneys are well aware of the fact that the population is aging very rapidly at the present time, and this reality is starting to seep into the public consciousness as a whole. The generation known as the “baby boomers” is now starting to reach the age when people typically retire, and in fact huge numbers of people are applying for federal retirement benefits every day. This high number of applications is expected to continue for some 20 years, so there’s a lot of interest by elder law demographers in the preparedness of these people for the latter stages of their lives.
To try to get a handle on the matter a poll was recently conducted by the Associated Press in partnership with LifeGoes Strong.com and it yielded some very interesting and telling results. 44% of baby boomers who responded to the poll stated that they lacked confidence that they would be capable of retiring in financial comfort.
The median amount of retirement savings that these individuals had was $40,000, and that’s not going to get you very far. About 25% of the poll respondents stated that they would never retire because they do not have the financial resources to do so.
A lot of people are lulled into the illusion that Social Security and Medicare will take care of everything when they become eligible for these programs, and this is why they make no advance preparations. But the average Social Security benefit in 2010 was $1072, and given budget constraints in Washington it is unlikely that large increases will be forthcoming anytime soon. And of course Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and there is in fact talk of cuts in Medicare as well because of solvency concerns.
In the final analysis, if you want to be ready for all the eventualities of aging you have to take personal responsibility for your own financial well-being. If you don’t know where to begin, the wise course of action would be to arrange for a consultation with a financial advisor or an experienced elder law attorney.