The Number Of Retired Americans Living Below The Poverty Level Is Increasing: Prevent Poverty In Retirement

poverty in retirement

Percentage Of Retirees Living In Poverty Is On The Rise

More and more Americans are spending their “golden” retirement years well below the poverty level and definitely below the standard of living they had become accustomed to prior to retirement.  According to a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute number of older adult falling below the poverty line has been growing steadily since 2005.  Poverty rates for retirees ages 65-74 climbed from 7.9% to 9.4%, from ages 75-84 the rate increased from 7.6% to 10.7% and in the oldest age group 85 and older there was the most significant increase with 14.6% of this age group living below the poverty line.

Health Problems Are The Primary Issue For A Retiree Falling Into Poverty

The primary issue for these older adults is that health issues, such as: heart disease, cancer, lung disease or stroke have forced them to burn through their retirement savings at a rate quicker than they could have anticipated.  In fact, 96% of older adults that are below the poverty line, have some kind of underlying health concern that is taxing their savings, compared to 61.7% of retirees that are above the poverty line.  As a person ages, their health problems increase and with that their health care costs go through the roof.  If a retiree is forced to receive care in a nursing home, that type of skilled care is extremely expensive and causes them to go through their assets even quicker.

Poverty Rates Among Retirees Are Expected To Continue To Increase

Currently, poverty rates for women were nearly double the rate as for men, in 2009, the poverty rate for a man was at 7% and for a woman at 13%.  Singles had a much higher rate of poverty than married couples.  Additionally, as the baby boomers are rapidly approaching retirement at the rate of 10,000 new retirees every day, the poverty rate is expected to increase from 13.5% of depression era retirees to 24.9% among baby boomers.

How To Protect Yourself From Poverty In Retirement

This is not the information that anyone nearing retirement likes to hear.  We all desire to maintain our standard of living and enjoy our retirement years.  Whether the goal is to travel the world, play endless hours of golf, or cuddle grandchildren, standard of living is paramount to attaining that.  So with retirees burning up pension plans, and retirement accounts how does a person protect themselves from poverty during retirement?  One option to consider is a deferred annuity with an income rider.  Basically it guarantees a steady monthly income for the rest of your life.  It’s like buying insurance for your retirement account.  Not knowing what kind of medical issue my eat up your savings, or how long you may live with the rising life expectancy, the thought of guaranteed monthly income in conjunction with social security becomes more and more appealing.

For more information on how to protect your assets and maintain your standard of living through retirement, visit



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