Survey says? Older Americans struggling to pay bills


It's pretty well-known that far too many baby boomers are ill-prepared for retirement, but rising gas prices and a weak economy are exacerbating that problem. Here are some of the scary statistics from a new survey released by the AARP:

  • Nearly 40% of people 45 and older have helped a child with expenses, including one-third of retirees.

  • 8% have helped a parent keep up with bills.

  • 1/3rd have stopped funding their 401(k) and 14% have cut back on medication.

  • 60% have cut back on entertainment expenses like eating out.

  • More than 25% are having difficulty making mortgage or rent payments.

If nothing else, these statistics are indicative of the perhaps ill-advised generosity of many baby boomers. 40% are helping children with expenses, and 1/3rd have stopped putting money aside for retirement. I wonder how much overlap there is there.

I know that people want to help their children. But underfunding your retirement to help out a younger person who has a lifetime of work ahead of them isn't noble: it's silly.

Just like they tell you on the airplane: Secure your own oxygen mask before you attempt to assist your child: you'll be more helpful to them that way.