The Atlantic recently published a standout piece on senior economic insecurity, sharing the stories of Americans who have “aged into poverty” as our country’s retirement savings system has eroded.
With the decline of employer-sponsored pensions and stagnation of average wages over the past 30 years, many older adults have come to depend on Social Security to meet their basic needs. However, a Social Security check may not be enough, particularly in a high cost of living state like California. Immigrants, people of color, women and other subgroups face particular economic barriers to growing wealth – such as language/cultural obstacles to securing work, being historically disadvantaged with lower or unequal wages, having responsibilities for caring for extended family members, and being ineligible for many public benefit programs – these factors contribute to reduced monthly Social Security benefits later in life.
Increased economic struggles for older adults have led many to keep working far beyond traditional retirement age, and to increasing senior homelessness. Poverty and social isolation are also closely linked, so older adults who struggle to make ends meet may also struggle with the negative physical and mental health outcomes associated with a lack of social connection.
Metta Fund resources are supporting grantee organizations who help older adults meet their basic needs and remain connected to and thriving in their communities.