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Road to Financial Recovery Could Be Long One for Many Seniors

Recession left many 50+ jobless, with little savings

Surveys show recession sapped the confidence of many 50+

Recent AARP reports indicate the Great Recession hit people 50 and over particularly hard and dented their confidence about the future.

The AARP Public Policy Institute conducted two surveys of men and women 50-plus in the last 18 months, in October 2010 and August 2011.

The first survey found that nearly half of respondents had trouble making ends meet over the previous three years. Four out of 10 said they believe their standard of living in retirement will be worse than their parents’. In addition:

  • 54 percent said they were less financially secure than before the recession began
  • 53 percent rated their financial well-being as only fair or poor
  • 50 percent said they had put off medical or dental care or were not taking their medications on schedule, because they couldn’t make ends meet
  • 25 percent said they have exhausted their savings

In the second survey, which polled a subset of the first survey group, few respondents felt the economic situation or job opportunities had improved since fall 2010. Most lacked confidence in their ability to find a good job soon.

“In August 2011, job growth was starting, but wasn’t percolating to the long-term unemployed older people,” said Sara Rix, author of the reports and a senior policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute. “There was relatively little change from the first survey; the reason was people hadn’t yet begun to experience the end of the recession” — even though economists said the recession ended in June 2009.

Nearly half of respondents age 50-plus in the August 2011 survey said they expect their standard of living in retirement to be worse than their parents’, and more than half thought their children would have a lower standard of living in retirement than theirs. In addition:

  • 63 percent were worried about having enough money for adequate health care
  • 59 percent thought the economic situation had worsened since October 2010
  • 43 percent said their savings had declined and have not recovered

What AARP Foundation Is Doing

For too many Americans 50-plus, uncertainty is the new normal. AARP Foundation works to make sure opportunity is still in reach for struggling people 50-plus by connecting them to resources and programs to help improve their financial well-being.

If you’ve been hit by the recession, these AARP Foundation resources can help.

  • WorkSearch: The WorkSearch Information Network is the job seeker’s online guide to success.
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP): This program provides community services and work-based training to low-income, unemployed older Americans age 55-plus.
  • Your Guide to Public Benefits: A list of federal public benefits for housing, food, health care and income. Also includes links to the Benefits QuickLINK tool to find benefits available in your state and location.

Also of interest: Paving the way to stable income. »

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