Don’t expand Social Security. Our elderly are mostly fine – Say What?

I wonder how many people will accept this finding? I ask that because many of us are willing to accept polling that says 70+ % of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck or can’t cover $400 in unplanned expenses. A finding I find very hard to accept.

The most convincing evidence is what retirees say about themselves, Biggs notes. According to Gallup, more than three-quarters of retirees (78 percent) say they “have enough money to live comfortably.” The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances finds that 75 percent of Americans 65 and over have “at least enough to maintain [their] standard of living.” That is up from 61 percent in 1992.

The polling organization NORC at the University of Chicago regularly asks respondents about their financial situation. “In all recent years,” says NORC, “those 65-plus have shown the least financial dissatisfaction.”

In 2014, 45 percent of 65-plus respondents were “satisfied” with their finances and 37 percent were “more or less satisfied.” Only 18 percent were “not at all satisfied.” By contrast, only 21 percent of the 35-to-49 group were satisfied, 50 percent were “more or less satisfied,” and 30 percent were “not at all satisfied.” True, most people’s incomes drop when they retire. But their expenses also typically drop.

The stereotype of most old people tumbling into poverty is wrong, in part because their incomes are significantly underreported. An important recent paper by economists Adam Bee of the Census Bureau and Joshua Mitchell of Welch Consulting estimated that, after correcting for the missing money, the median income of elderly households in 2012 jumped almost a third, from $33,800 to $44,400.

The poverty rate among the elderly, already much lower than in the general population, also fell by a quarter. The main sources of underreporting involve income from IRAs, 401(k) plans and traditional pensions.

Source: Don’t expand Social Security. Our elderly are mostly fine. – The Washington Post


  1. Seniors living in the NE pay the HIGHEST property taxes of all states. NJ is in the top 2.
    We do get Social security and some get a pension but not everyone. Many companies did away with their pensions. They did away with their medical and buying on the outside is MORE expensive than company plans. We cannot deduct our full SALT taxes. When I moved out here the property tax was 1850 now it is 9500. same house. nothing added. We do pay the most into DC and we get the least back from DC and that came from an office in the White House. More and more of our twp. seniors are now lined up for the food bank when I go into City hall. I know seniors here in town that only get 600 a month from SS. Some get 1200. That’s not much to live on esp. if you have medical expenses. NJ doesn’t pay for our Medicare. We do, out of our SS which has very low Colas. Our Pensions never rise. Now there are some seniors who can up and move out of state w/o a care and pay property taxes of less than 1,000. Many of cannot do that do to family problems. Then we have a stupid governor who ran on raising taxes and now the folks who voted for him are crying he’s raising taxes and he is to pay for illegals. Free college. Sanctuary cities.
    So who pays for all of this? US.

    So there are some people who are well off and get a nice SS and pension and don’t have to spend much of it. No we don’t buy the latest gadgets. We can’t afford them. And this is why there is such an outflux of NJ residents once they retire to cheaper states, less populated states, lower education states. No kids so they don’t have to worry about educational taxes.


  2. I have never made more than $25,500 per year during my working years, age 16 to 50.
    I am now 63. But, I served in the USAF from 1975 to 1995 and have received inflation adjusted retirement benefits for the last 23 years. I started my SS at age 62 because of credit card debt. I now receive $3,043 per month in total retirement benefits, that equals about the same buying power of my 1988 income and I do not have 4 children to support. I have paid off $16,000 in debt in the last 12 months. My remaining debt is on zero interest credit cards and will = zero in Dec 2019, and I will have $5,000 in my emergency fund. Then 100% of my SS will not need to be spent on anything. That is $15,888 per year, plus colas that I will be able to invest or use to help out family, if they need it.

    The reason many people over 65 are doing better than others is, we do not buy the latest
    electronic gadget, drive older paid off cars and many of our costs decline in retirement. I drive less, eat out less, spend less on clothes, only activate my cell phone when I travel to see family 4 to 5 months out of any year. My taxes are the lowest that they have ever been.

    Also, the so called poor retire qualifies for SNAP, energy assistance, rent / housing assistance
    and reduced out of pocket medical costs in many states. In Texas the state pays my mom’s Medicare premiums and co-pays for office visits and medications. Do not forget about all those senior discounts that we enjoy. Many retirees I know live in a mortgage free house.


  3. Nice to know 73 year old author, Robert Jacob Samuelson, is living high off the hog in his senior years. Interesting his anti-senior/anti-SS reform opinion piece is from the Washington Post. But not so surprising when one considers the racial demographics of today’s baby boomers [over 70% White] verses the increasingly nonwhite/immigrant younger generations and how this divide plays into current racial and generational politics.



  4. Wait until the pro-expansion statisticians figure out a way to use taxable income as an indicator of senior wealth. Beside not reflecting wealth in senior 401Ks and IRAs, but this year with the Trump tax cut, in most cases due to the doubling of the standard deduction, the taxable income is likely to be $12k less over last year.


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