Economy’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans

The Economic Slowdown’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans
Jeffrey Love and Gerard Rainville
Research Report from the AARP

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey to determine how people age 45 and older are responding to the current economic slowdown. The survey asked respondents for their assessments of the economy’s condition, whether they have taken actions in response to the changing economy, and if they felt enough was being done to address economic problems. This executive summary of the study reveals that a majority of those 45 or older believe the economy is in bad shape and that many have adapted their behaviors in response to the floundering economy.

Survey findings include:

* Eighty-one percent say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition. A similar percentage (75%) feel the economy is getting worse.
* Over one-fourth of respondents said they are having trouble paying their mortgage or rent and one-third have stopped putting money into their retirement accounts. More than one-fourth (27%) of all workers 45+ have postponed plans to retire.
* As the economy slows and prices rise, most middle-aged and older respondents report that they are having difficulty paying for food, gas, utilities, and medicine, and are responding to the situation by cutting luxuries and postponing major purchases and travel.
* Respondents age 65 and over were less likely than those ages 45-64 to report having taken steps to cope with a slowing economy or increasing prices as a result of the recent economic slowdown. This does not indicate that the older population is better off financially. Rather, the data suggest that the 65 and over group had, even prior to the economic downturn, been forced to adjust their spending habits because of their work status, fixed income, and rising costs.

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