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Health and Financial Concerns Threaten Retirement Dreams

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-03-29 - AARP survey shows a measurable gap between importance placed on health and financial security and confidence in meeting those needs. For further information pertaining to this article contact: AARP New York.

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Concerns About Financial Security, Working Longer, and Children's Future Run High.

A new AARP survey of New Yorkers age 50 and older shows a measurable gap between the importance they place on health and financial security and their confidence in meeting those needs. This deep concern carries over to worries about their children with 61 percent of New Yorkers 50+ reporting they are not confident that their children's generation will be better than it has been for them.

Overall concern about financial issues runs high - with 70 percent worried about how they would maintain their finances and lifestyle in retirement, 51 percent worried about managing debt, and 64 percent concerned about saving for the future. According to the survey, almost everyone thinks that staying healthy and having adequate health insurance coverage are important, but only one-third feel they have what they need in regards to those two areas.

For working New Yorkers, 58 percent say they will delay retirement if the economy does not improve. Of those who plan to delay retirement, 43 percent said they would delay retirement for five or more years and 16 percent expect never to retire.

"In the wake of the national recession, older adults don't have what they need to accomplish their most important goals due to growing concerns over health care and financial issues," said Lois Wagh Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "While mid-life and older adults would prefer enjoying a secure retirement, the reality shows those dreams are being replaced by real concerns about having enough money to retire and stay healthy."

The survey, titled "Voices of 50+ New York," is part of a large-scale AARP effort consisting of separate surveys in each of the 50 states, plus a national survey, to better gather information on the needs, interests and concerns of Americans 50+. The survey found large gaps between what New Yorkers believe they need to remain healthy, secure and active and what they expect to have.

Also among the survey's findings:

  • Sixty-one percent worry about needing to provide financial support to a family member.
  • About four in 10 New Yorkers age 50+ have some difficulty paying their monthly electric bills; 18 percent have serious difficulty.
  • Having adequate health insurance coverage is important for almost everyone, but only one-third feel that they have adequate health coverage.
  • Many concerns about health care are tied directly into financial worries. About seven in ten worry about having to pay more for health care and becoming financially devastated due to health costs.
  • Two-thirds worry about losing their health insurance.
  • Thirty-eight percent are very worried about being able to afford prescription drugs.
  • Only three in ten feel extremely or very informed about long-term care services available in their community.
  • About four in ten do not have access to a bank, pharmacy, public transportation or grocery story within walking distance.

"This survey tells us that too many New Yorkers age 50+ are uncertain they can attain, or maintain, good health and a secure retirement," said Aronstein. "It spotlights issues of fundamental importance to older New Yorkers, and - as we all grow older - all New Yorkers."

"AARP has a strong commitment to helping New Yorkers 50+ live their lives to the fullest," Aronstein said. "This survey will inform and guide our efforts in advocacy, outreach, and service, and reinforces the critical nature of the work that we all can and should be doing to help enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers."

More than 400 New Yorkers were surveyed by telephone in January. The data has a sampling error of five percent. For more information about the survey, including a copy of the survey report, visit www.aarp.org/ny

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