Social Security monthly checks not enough for boomers with no savings

Many baby boomers are facing a retirement crisis as they have limited savings and are dependent on Social Security for their daily expenses. A study by the Retirement Income Institute found that over half of baby boomers had less than $250,000 in assets, and many are living on just over $1,000 monthly in Social Security income. This amount is insufficient to cover basic necessities such as groceries, healthcare, and bills.

One example is Virginia Hambrick, a 66-year-old retired woman who lives in a rural area outside Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hambrick had a long career in the manufacturing and hospitality industries but retired in the early 2010s with limited savings. Her husband has been caring for sick relatives for several years and doesn’t have an income. With no savings and a Social Security check of $1,625, Hambrick struggles to make ends meet.

Another example is Mary Dacus, a 69-year-old woman who lives in Robinson, Illinois. Dacus and her husband live on their combined monthly Social Security income of $2,140 and have no money in case of an emergency. They are nearly $10,000 in debt because they have had to pay their bills with credit cards. Dacus often relies on food pantries to make sure she and her husband have enough to eat, and she worries about the cost of long-term healthcare treatment for her husband’s recent cancer diagnosis.

Older adults such as Hambrick and Dacus are not alone in their struggles. Many boomers are facing drained savings accounts, growing debt, and limited assets, and are clinging to their monthly Social Security checks to get by. However, some older adults feel financially secure in retirement due to strong company 401(k) matches or savvy investments.

It can be difficult for boomers to qualify for assistance, even with a low income. Programs that could supplement their income are often set up for parents with dependent children, and older adults may not qualify. As a result, many older adults are feeling anxious about the future and are losing hope that their situation will change.

Boomers are staring down an uncertain future, and many did not expect to struggle in retirement. They thought they would have enough savings to travel and enjoy their golden years, but limited government assistance, insufficient funds from Social Security, and no savings to fall back on have left many in a precarious financial situation. If you are an older adult living on Social Security and are open to sharing your experiences, please reach out to the reporter at [email protected].

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