Economic insecurity looms over the aging population

Saving money for retirement is important, but so is paying off debt. So which should you prioritize?

One in three adults over the age of 65 is economically insecure, according to the National Council on Aging.

The Elder Index calculated the cost of living for every state. In Georgia, these numbers are:

  • $36,180 a year for single renters
  • $41,928 a year for single homeowners with a mortgage
  • $31,488 a year for single homeowners without a mortgage
  • $58,608 a year for a couple renting
  • $64,356 a year for couples who own homes with a mortgage
  • $53,916 a year for couples who own homes without a mortgage

However, 2019 data show that 22.5% of couples and 51.1% of singles in Georgia live below the index. Therefore, they’re unable to meet their basic needs in food, housing, transportation and health. According to, Georgians need at least $$50,066 annually to comfortably retire.

These numbers were calculated before inflation in Atlanta hit a high of 10.8% in May. While Social Security adjusts for inflation, many other streams of income may not. Fixed-income retirees may find their money eaten by higher prices at gas stations and grocery stores. Additionally, life expectancy in the United States is increasing, and those who live longer have to find ways to stretch out their income.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the average Social Security benefit for January was $1,614 per month or $19,370 per year. That means Social Security didn’t cover all Georgia retirees’ expenses.

“There’s a myth that Social Security and Medicare miraculously take care of all of people’s needs in older age,” Ramsey Alwin, president and chief executive of the National Council on Aging, told Kaiser Health News. “The reality is they don’t, and far too many people are one crisis away from economic insecurity.”

Funds needed in the first five to 10 years of retirement are the most at risk. And it gets harder to make up lost ground over the long haul, according to Nationwide. So those who have retired recently and haven’t been able to adjust for skyrocketing prices may have a harder time recovering in the long run.

As older adults face the brunt of inflation and rising housing costs, some fear that this could leave seniors homeless.

“The senior population is going to become the next big homeless population,” Penelope McCalley, a local senior advocate with The Oaks Resident Advocacy Group, told Fox 5.

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