Feeling uneasy about ever getting the middle-class retirement you planned on? Trust your instincts.
The nation's middle class is taking a beating, according to new reports by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Just how bad is it?
"The decline of the middle class threatens our ability to fund health and retirement programs, to maintain a safety net for the most vulnerable and to invest in our future," says AARP CEO A. Barry Rand.
Most Americans consider themselves "middle class," so it's little wonder that both Democrats and Republicans frame their positions on issues in terms of how they would help that group. Here are seven of the most troubling facts from the AARP reports that Washington lawmakers should pay attention to.
- If trends continue, 30 percent of the current "middle class" population will fall to "low income" in retirement.
- Future retirees will live on just 73 percent of their work income compared with the 80 percent that current retirees live on. Factor in higher future health care costs and the figure falls to 55 percent.
- For future retirees, out-of-pocket medical expenses as a percent of income will more than double what they are now.
- Americans are falling deeper into debt, with the steepest increases among those 50 and older.
- Among middle-income households with credit card debt, those headed by Americans 50 and older had the most -$8,278, on average.
- The proportion of working-age middle-income families who are financially secure fell by 38 percent from 2004 to 2010.
- Middle-income families spent 51 percent more on health care in 2010 than they did a decade earlier.
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