Tags: retire | housing | baby boomer | age

Harvard/AARP Study: The Next Retirement Crisis — Housing

By    |   Wednesday, 03 September 2014 01:51 PM

As more baby boomers age and retire, the nation will face a growing housing crisis, a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Foundation warns.

The number of people in the United States aged 50 or older is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030. And as America's elderly population swells, they will discover that affordable, physically accessible, well-located housing is in too-short supply, according to the report.

A big part of the problem is many baby boomers will enter retirement with less savings and more debt than previous generations have.

Editor's Note:
Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

In 2010, 40 percent of baby boomers aged 65 or older still carried mortgage debt, placing them in a "financially precarious" position, according to report. And non-housing debts, such as auto loans and credit card bills, among the 65-plus crowd averaged $7,200.

Aggravating matters are expectations that many baby boomers' income will decline in the next decade. The number of 65-plus households living on less than $15,000 a year is projected to grow by 37 percent.

But baby boomers' struggles to access suitable housing is not solely a problem of the distant future, according to the report.

A third of Americans age 50 and older are already spending upwards of 30 percent of their income to cover housing costs. Paying such a price for a place to live means many have to cut back spending on other expenses such as food, healthcare and retirement savings.

Despite the costs and the sacrifices, elderly people are increasingly threatened with the likelihood of living in homes that do not meet their needs, the researchers note.

The nation's housing inventory is inadequately suited to meet the growing needs for basic accessibility features that allow older people to live safely and comfortably, such as no-step entries, single-floor living, extra-wide doorways and halls and lever-style door handles.

Elderly people tend to be concentrated in rural areas and suburbs, which creates additional problems, since many of these areas are ill-equipped in terms of transportation and pedestrian options that allow the elderly to get around. These mobility challenges threaten to isolate non-driving seniors from their loved ones, the report states.

"Recognizing the implications of this profound demographic shift and taking immediate steps to address these issues is vital to our national standard of living," said Chris Herbert, acting managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Herbert acknowledged that baby boomers and their families should play a role in addressing these issues.

However, "it is also incumbent upon policymakers at all levels of government to see that affordable, appropriate housing, as well as supports for long-term aging in the community, are available for older adults across the income spectrum," he said.

A plethora of recent studies show that we definitely don't have our financial house in order when it comes to retirement.

A total of 36 percent of adults surveyed by Bankrate haven't even begun to save for retirement, including more than 25 percent of those aged 50 to 64.

And "many of those that are saving aren't saving all that much." Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst, said on the firm's website.

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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As more baby boomers age and retire, the nation will face a growing housing crisis, a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP Foundation warns.
retire, housing, baby boomer, age
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2014-51-03
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 01:51 PM
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