The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

May 27, 2013

The Color of Money: Stretching your retirement dollars

For the second time in as many weeks, educators have joked that I was scaring them about retiring. 

     In the end, these readers felt that they would be OK, but the steady news of retirement woes have them thinking of plans A, B and C.

     I'm a long way from retirement. But as time passes, I've become more aware of the challenges of leaving the workforce and trying to live off my savings. It's hard to stay optimistic, even if you've done well for yourself, when report after report lays out facts that make getting older seem forbidding.

     A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the Census Bureau's poverty estimates for seniors is frightening. Nationally, 9 percent of people 65 and older live in poverty. But when the poverty measure adds in other supplemental information such as out-of-pocket medical costs or the high costs of housing, 15 percent of seniors are living in poverty.

     In examining the data state-by-state, the foundation reported that "the share of seniors living in poverty is higher in every state under the supplemental measure than under the official measure." And it's at least twice as high in 12 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The District of Columbia has the highest rate -- about one in four.

     Then there is a report from MoneyRates.com that won't come as news to savers and retirees. The company put into context the pitiful interest rates people are getting on their deposited cash.

     In responding to the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve instituted polices that have kept borrowing rates low. But the ultra-low interest rate environment has been crushing to customers with certificates of deposit, money market funds or savings accounts.

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