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1 in 5 Older Americans Say They Used Up Their Savings or Lost Their Main Source of Income Because of the Pandemic

(by Richard Eisenberg | Marketwatch) – We’ve all known that COVID-19 has taken a cruel toll on the health of older Americans. Now, a new study from the Commonwealth Fund foundation finds that the coronavirus has been equally brutal financially.

In fact, the 2021 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults shows Americans 65+ have been facing greater economic hardship and health care disruption than people their age in 10 other wealthy nations. In some cases, far greater.

The findings were released a day after the U.S. Census reported that median household income for Americans 65+ fell by 3.3% from 2019-20. It’s now roughly $46,400, said David Waddington, chief of social, economic and housing statistics at the Census. (The median household income dropped by 2.6% for those under 65).

Some 9% of Americans 65 and older are now living in poverty. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below $30,000, according to the National Council on Aging.

A poor showing for U.S. for ‘retiree well-being’

Another new international survey, from Natixis Investment Managers, named the U.S. No. 17 in the world for “retiree well-being.” (Iceland was No. 1 for the third year running.) America’s rank is down a spot from last year. This survey’s respondents — individuals with at least $100,000 in investible assets — said COVID-19 has made retiring securely more difficult.

In addition, the Commonwealth Fund President Dr. David Blumenthal said during a call with the media, in the U.S., “Black and Hispanic older adults suffered disproportionately from the pandemic’s economic fallout.”

The Commonwealth Fund surveyed 18,477 adults 65+ from March to June 2021 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Among its stark findings:

Nineteen percent of older Americans reported they used up their savings or lost their main source of income because of the pandemic. That’s four to six times the rate in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Nearly 4 in 10 older Hispanic adults and 1 in 3 older Black adults said they experienced economic difficulties related to the pandemic. By contrast, just 14% of older white adults said so. Read Full Article >

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