AARP: One Fourth of Seniors Have Exhausted Personal Savings

A recent AARP report shows that 31.6% of seniors have experienced a substantial decline in their homes’ values in the past three years, and a fourth have exhausted their personal savings.

The AARP’s Public Policy Institute report, titled Recovering from the Great Recession: Long Struggle Ahead for Older Americans, details the impact the recession has had on older Americans in many areas of life over the past three years in addition to decreased home values, including exhausting savings, falling behind on credit card payments, and struggling to make rent or mortgage payments.


Despite being at or approaching retirement age, the report’s data shows that 83.3% of the survey’s 5,027 respondents “thought the nation’s economic problems would make it harder for them to take care of their financial needs in retirement.” In fact, the report says that 66.6% have had to tap into their retirement savings accounts during the past three years, and with a quarter of those polled having exhausted their personal savings, making them even less prepared for retirement.

“Overall, more than half (52.6%) of those surveyed were not too or not at all confident that they (along with their spouse or partner) will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years,” says the report.

As a result of the financial recession, the report says that 44.1% of those surveyed had decided that they will likely continue to work at least part-time after retirement, and an additional 33.4% said they expect to delay retirement. It also said that 12.8% of those surveyed had returned to the labor force and were either working or looking for work.

Seniors who either wish to age in place, or who simply cannot afford to move out of them, may choose to take out a reverse mortgage in response to depleted personal savings, decreased home values, or being forced to remain in the labor force. The AARP report says that 64.3% of those surveyed have no plans to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community, while 13% have plans to sell their home or make use of a home equity line if needed for health bills.

AARP says that a full report on the survey’s findings, Beyond 50—2011, will be released later in 2011. View the current AARP report here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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