Not everyone gets to retire. If you want to spend your golden years enjoying travel or your favorite hobbies, or simply sitting by the beach, you need to save until it hurts now. Despite soaring stock markets and savings rates that are the highest in years, the number of American workers who are 75-years old and older is set to increase 96.5% over the next ten years because so many can’t afford to retire. The Guardian reports:
Maria Rios, 75, has worked as a food prep worker with contractor HMS Host at Phoenix Sky Harbor international airport for 17 years, where she makes $14.50 an hour. Her husband, who is retired, only receives about $400 a month in social security benefits. Rios would like to retire also, but she doesn’t have the option even as she is battling ovarian cancer.
An average of 65 million Americans receive a monthly social security benefit, with majority of payments going to retired workers and their dependents.
‘I can’t live on $709 a month’: Americans on social security push for its expansion
When Covid-19 hit the US, Rios was one of thousands of workers in the food service industry who were furloughed, and was only recalled back to work a few months ago. While receiving unemployment assistance, Rios and her husband had to rely on food banks to have enough food to eat, and because she lost her health insurance along with her job, she had to skip cancer treatments until she was able to get Medicare, but still paid hundreds of dollars out of pocket for treatments.
Her situation means that at a time when many might assume she should be enjoying a well-earned rest, she is still forced to work.
“At 75 years old, I’m forced to still have to work to try to make ends meet. The healthcare the company provides is way too expensive and they’ve yet to provide a more affordable health insurance plan,” said Rios, who pays about $200 a month for her health insurance. “ It’s also very important for people to be able to have a pension too, to be able to retire with dignity so people aren’t forced to be in a position where I am right now, 75 years old and still having to work”.
She even recently went on strike with her co-workers for 10 days, fighting for higher wages, more affordable healthcare and a pension.
Media reports of older workers have often been framed as feel-good stories, such as a viral news report of an 89-year-old pizza delivery man who received a $12,000 tip raised by a customer out of remorse, as he works 30 hours a week because he can’t afford to retire on social security benefits alone. Or an 84-year-old woman who started a new job as a motel housekeeper in Maine in July 2020. Or an 81-year-old woman in Ohio who volunteered to start working at her favorite restaurant in November 2021 because it shut down temporarily due to an inability to hire and retain enough staff.
But the grim reality is millions of Americans are working into their senior years because they can’t afford not to have a job.
Over the next decade, the number of workers ages 75 and older is expected to increase in the US by 96.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with their labor force participation rate projected to rise from 8.9% in 2020 to 11.7% by 2030, a rate that has steadily increased from 4.7% in 1996.
Action Line: Whether or not you save til it hurts in life will decide if you become an elderly worker or a Liberty Retiree. If you’re serious about achieving your retirement goals, and you need regular encouragement to do it, click here to sign up for my free monthly Survive & Thrive newsletter. I’ll push you to break the hold of inertia and to achieve your goals. But only if you’re serious.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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