Half of older Americans cannot afford essential expenses

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(NewsNation) — Fred Morton spent his life working as a truck driver for almost three decades, saving up for the years when he could finally take it easy and retire.

His retirement is not what he expected, though. Morton thought he’d be able to travel more, see his family and friends, and focus on his hobbies. But record-high inflation, pushing up the price of everything from fuel to food, has changed that.

“The price of gas has doubled, heating your house has gone up terribly, and my income has dropped 20-25%,” Morton told NewsNation.

A volatile stock market has caused Morton’s IRA to diminish, meaning he now lives solely on Social Security benefits.

Other older adults are finding facing similar challenges. According to new data released by the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s Elder Index, around half of senior citizens cannot afford essential expenses, such as healthcare, food, housing and transportation.

“I’m a little shaky on what the future will bring,” Morton said.

Another survey, from the Senior Citizens League, found similar results to the Elder index: half of the respondents, who were 55 years or older, said they spent emergency savings in the past 12 months in response to high inflation.

CNBC reported that 47% of survey participants have visited a food pantry or applied for benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

A lot of eyes continue to be on the economy this week, as the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the second month in a row on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, the second-quarter report on gross domestic product will be released. by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Mitch Kramer, a financial adviser, said he expects Thursday’s GDP numbers to reflect negative growth.

“It’s going to be a hard landing,” he said. Still, he isn’t sure this will cause a large drop in the stock market.

“Corporations are notorious for sandbagging a low number. Then, if they beat a low number the stock has a tendency to respond favorably,” Kramer said. “I think the same thing is going to happen with economic numbers. People expect them to be bad, and if they are bad that’s kind of baked into the cake.”

With economic news like this, younger generations, just like senior citizens, are also facing tough times. Americans’ home buying power has been reduced by 20%, as a result of interest rates going up 2% by the beginning of 2022, real estate agent Cliff Freeman said.

“For many of the millennials and first-time homebuyers, it’s effectively taken them right out of the market,” Freeman said.

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