Is Poverty Among Older Americans Undercounted?

Poverty levels are much higher for older Americans when you factor in how much they need to spend on health care, the Census Bureau has found. While 9 percent or so of all Americans 65 and older were below the official poverty threshold in 2011 ($10,788 for an individual), 15 percent were below an alternative threshold that takes into account spending on health care. The alternative measure also takes into account variations in the cost of living, taxes, whether a …

Retirement Crisis: Are We There Yet?

It seems like you can’t open up a newspaper (or twitter feed) without reading about the impending “retirement crisis.”  The word crisis, used to describe so many things, may get the public’s attention, but is it accurate?   Many retirees today struggle to make ends meet and others face dire situations triggered by job loss or unexpected health expenses.  But the prospect of a broader retirement crisis depends on your frame of reference. Because of the protections Social Security provides, …

Why Inflation Matters for Social Security

One of Social Security’s great strengths is that it offers meaningful protection against inflation. Each year, the program considers how prices are rising [as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers]. If prices go up, the Social Security benefits people have earned tend to be adjusted as well. For a typical household, this protection is huge – a point I tried to emphasize in my book, “Social Security for Dummies.” It helps people keep …

Digging Deeper on Changes to the Social Security COLA

No one with any common sense wants to see our politicians take us over the fiscal cliff. And I think most people with common sense also realize that Social Security, and the tougher issue of Medicare, are worth thoughtful debate and discussion so these vital programs can be put on stronger footing for future generations. However, when budget cutters take aim at today’s Social Security recipients, it’s time to ask questions and dig deeper into the fine print. A proposal …

Caring for the Poor and Disadvantaged – an Act of Kindness

Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, was recently quoted as saying “We have seen donations for a hundred years … and the problems and poverty are bigger. They have not solved anything.”  I’m perplexed by this statement. If you are a type A personality (like I am), you may think to yourself that Slim may be right.  Though global poverty has decreased over the last five years, according to a Brookings Institute study, the number of fragile states is …

Visiting Southeast Asia to Seek Solutions to Isolation

This is a guest post by Beth Casey. Beth is a program manager for AARP Foundation’s Isolation Impact Area team, which works to combat and prevent isolation in people age 50 and over. The challenges of the developing world are not so different from those faced by Americans age 50 and over, particularly the low-income segment of the 50+. Throughout the world, older adults struggle to live their lives with dignity and purpose – to continue to put food on …