The release of recent figures regarding the income and financial resources of older Americans is alarming. The statistics should make younger people think seriously about how to plan their income to last throughout their senior years. It is never too early to start thinking about an estate plan that will help you as much while you are alive as it will your family when you are gone. Estate plans do not have to be set in stone, but can change as you, your family and your financial circumstances change over the years.
Two recent surveys by the Economic Policy Institute and Interest.com show that those 65 or older are living on about 57 percent of the median income of those 45-64 years old. Statistics from the 2011 census show that the older group is living on about $35,107 a year. Income is defined as earnings from work, Social Security benefits, pensions and retirement benefits, interest income and welfare payments. The survey by the Economic Policy Institute also shows that women and Hispanic seniors, as well as those age 80 and older, have less income than others included in the survey.
For a younger generation, the concern is that some of the income counted in the current figures may not be available when they turn 65. Most people have followed the debates about Social Security benefits and whether any money will be left for the next generation to reach retirement age. So they will have to rely much more on money they earn, invest and save before they reach that stage. Starting to develop an estate plan as soon as possible will be helpful in finding the best strategies.
If any good news came out of the survey, it is that younger women may be in a better financial position than their older female counterparts. This comes from evidence that more younger women now work than in previous generations. This will give them access to investment and retirement benefits that older women have not had.
While the surveys do not bode well for future generations, there are solutions. An estate plan that is designed to support you through your senior years can give you more confidence in your ability to live the lifestyle you want as you get older and retire. And the sooner you start, the better.