Some people follow the policy of using up all their assets so that upon departing this world the balance is zero. However, it appears that a majority are not even going to get that option. What are they thinking? Poverty is not an excuse looking at these numbers given the 69% majority. Lack of foresight, discipline and financial common sense are more likely.
But here’s the thing. Politicians look at stats and surveys like these and conclude government must do something and off they go. And guess what, as absurd as it may be, they are probably right. Because what happens if “we” the responsible citizens don’t do “something?” We end of pay the price for the less responsible. Meanwhile those among us who plan, save, invest an are prudent end up the bad guy while paying higher taxes, higher Medicare premiums, and forego tax breaks available to others.
You can’t argue it’s good luck and bad luck, fortune and misfortune that causes this dichotomy. For the most part it is the difference in people and how they choose to live their lives and their sense of personal responsibility. Everyone has an excuse, a scapegoat to blame and how are we surprised when the political propaganda machine seeks for its own benefit to promote such views. How better to exercise and maintain power than to have the population dependent on government?
No, I’m not some right-wing nut, but I am from another generation who thought differently, who bought only what it could afford, who saw hard work as the first route to getting what one wanted, who viewed as essential living within ones means, who saved as a virtue and who would be embarrassed seeking government assistance.
In a recent GoBankingRates study, 69% of adults admitted to having less than $1,000 in the bank, while 34% said they actually don’t have any savings at all. But apparently, this collective lack of savings doesn’t get all that much better with age. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found not so long ago that almost half of Americans die nearly broke. Of the general population, 46% of retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less. But that number climbs to 57% among retirees who are single.
Now when we take other assets, like homes, into account, the picture gets a bit less bleak. Still, 57% of single-adult households and 50% of widowed households had no housing equity to show for when they died.
The problem is that dying nearly broke isn’t just a matter of denying one’s beneficiaries an inheritance. Rather, it points to a frightening degree of financial vulnerability during retirement. If seniors are passing without much in the way of assets, it means that in the years leading up to their death, they’re ill equipped to handle a major unexpected expense, such as a significant medical bill. In fact, in that same GoBankingRates survey, only 37% of seniors 65 and older claimed to have $1,000 or more in the bank.