Day in and day out, we dedicate the better part of our lives to our chosen career paths while reaching for the brass ring called retirement. That peaceful, stress-free time in our lives that takes decades of hard work and dedication to achieve.
The U.S. has roughly 54-million retirees living between its shores. While some are living very well off of their 401Ks, past investments, or maybe selling off a business it took a lifetime to build, the majority are living from Social Security deposit to Social Security deposit.
Then, there are the approximately 4.9 million retirees who, many through no fault of their own, are living in poverty. They worked. They saved. They did everything right. But, then, something happened that wasn’t factored into the equation.
Karla Finocchio, 55, from Phoenix, didn’t get the chance to reach the legal age of retirement when back surgery rendered her no longer able to do her job. She figured she could squeeze by for seven years on the money she’d saved plus her $800 monthly disability check which would convert to SS retirement and increase when she hit 62. If she was careful, she could do it.
Finocchio settled into a modest one-bedroom apartment and was doing okay until rents in the Phoenix area took a 33% leap during the pandemic. Her rent suddenly jumped to $1,220. Having no other option, Finocchio’s old pickup truck became home sweet home for her and her German Shepherd, Scrappy. Even had she made it seven years, it wouldn’t have mattered. The increase in benefits would not have helped.
Army veteran Lovia Primous, 67, was still doing well at his job and had planned to work as long as he was able to until a stroke ended his no-retirement-plan job. Like Finocchio, Primous had a nice-sized savings account but he hadn’t anticipated inflation burning a hole in it, and his monthly SS check was a joke.
He lost his apartment and moved into his Honda Accord where he also contracted COVID-19 from being on the street. Once Primous recovered, he was referred to a shelter. Growing up in the former segregated African-American area of south Phoenix, he said, “life has been hard. I’m just trying to stay positive.”
When 65-year-old Cardelia Corley of Los Angeles had her hours cut at her telemarketing job, she ended up living on the street. To her surprise, she ran into others her age or older who were in the same boat. A teacher and a nurse had both lost their homes following their illnesses.
The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of the U.S. aging homeless population based on 30 years of data. At its current rate, the number of elderly homeless will triple by 2030, causing a national public health crisis as age increases their need for unaffordable medical care.
Younger baby boomers are especially getting slammed to the mat. Over half of all men and women between the ages of 55 and 66 have no retirement plan and little to no savings. Inflation has made it impossible for them to save for a rainy day.
Dr. Margot Kushnel, director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the San Francisco campus of the University of California, said, “We are seeing that retirement is no longer the golden dream. A lot of the working poor are destined to retire onto the streets.”
Payscales and social security retirement benefits have not kept up with America’s out-of-control inflation at the hands of Joe Biden, and it’s only getting worse. An overwhelming majority of America’s ever-increasing aging population has but two options. They can work until they die or they can tidy up their vehicles as they hang their hats in their new homes.