Half of retirees die with little in savings

Half of retirees die with little in savings

the democrats have spent trillions since LBJ to citizens;  but they create dependencies; and cripple or create false hopes for the average worker.  if social security deductions and union dues were funnelled in private accounts the average worker would have hundreds of thousands in savings.

About 46% of American retirees have no more than $10,000 in savings at the end of life.

By MSN Money partner Fri 2:09 PM

This post comes from Andrea Coombes at partner site MarketWatch.

MarketWatch on MSN MoneyAlmost half of U.S. retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less, but that grim finding doesn't fully describe the variability and uncertainty that characterize retirement in America, according to a recent study.

Image: Close-up of a senior man looking sad © George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesWhile some retirees struggle profoundly, living at or below the poverty line, others enjoy wealth and health -- in fact, the two are strongly linked -- while still others have little in savings but enjoy a decent income, according to the report (.pdf file), based on a survey that tracked retirees from 1993 through 2008.

While 46% of retirees have no more than $10,000 in savings when they die, "That doesn't mean their standard of living is very low -- they might have a relatively generous pension plan, (and) most of them will have Social Security," said James Poterba, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a co-author of the study.

But the findings "suggest something about the financial resiliency of these households," Poterba added. "They may not have much capacity to absorb a shock, such as an out-of-pocket medical expenditure. They don't have very much in the way of liquid assets they can access."

When net worth is measured -- including savings, home equity, the value of Social Security and pension benefits, and more -- retirees' financial picture around the time of death looks less bleak. Single people had average assets of about $142,000, those whose spouse had died previously had average assets of $253,000, and couples where the surveyed retiree had died but the other spouse was still living had average assets of $692,000, according to the study.

"You can't generalize that the elderly are not doing very well financially or that the elderly are doing fine. There is a lot of variation within the group," Poterba said. "There is a clear group of households that have relatively low income and also have low financial assets. At the other end is a group that has financial assets that are more than sufficient to accommodate any shocks."

Policymakers and financial advisers, take note. "One-size-fits-all solutions are unlikely to really capture the flavor of what's here," Poterba said. (Post continues below.)

Brophy Wednesday 05 September 2012 - 12:33 pm | | Brophy Blog

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