Seniors struggling with reduced income and no financial plan
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nationwide nonprofit financial organization providing consumers with financial education, housing and bankruptcy counseling, recently released data surrounding seniors and finances in 2010.
Nearly 57,000 seniors ages 55 and older completed financial assessments with GreenPath in 2010. More than a third of respondents (38%) listed "reduced income" as the main source of hardship with nearly another third of respondents (29%) listing "no financial plan" as their source of concern. A distant third reason for hardship was "medical issues" (disability, medical expense, etc.) with 12% of respondents listing it as their cause of hardship. Surprisingly "unemployment" placed fourth (9%) as source of hardship.
"Reduced income is a reality for seniors in our economy," said Dorothy Barrick, GreenPath group manager and counselor. "Many people had a lot of their retirement investments wiped out during the recent economic downturn and are realizing now that their income has been greatly affected."
Barrick went on to say that many seniors must continue to work part-time either due to health reasons or to help re-build retirement money lost in the recession. "Many people are finding it necessary to find some part-time work to help out with their day-to-day expenses, as their investments start to build back up again," Barrick remarked. "In addition, those that were able to retire recently have been faced with lower returns on their investments and social security."
Some seniors who didn't have a financial plan in place found themselves spending more money during the recession to support their lifestyle. "While they might not be spending extravagantly, that uptick in credit card use to bridge their financial gap could add up quickly, putting them in a financial situation that they may have not experienced before," Barrick remarked.
Barrick went on to explain that unfortunately, when a senior finds themselves with a budget that does not balance, they are faced with fewer options than a younger adult. "A senior typically has a harder time finding a second job or a better paying primary job," she said. "They also often find themselves in a position where there income is fixed at yesterday's wages and their expenses are growing at the rate of today's inflation."
But Barrick said there is free help available to seniors. She suggests that seniors reach out early to a nonprofit organization before problems occur, to review expenses and help them build a budget for today and tomorrow. "People really need to get an understanding of where their money goes each month," she said. "They need to pay attention to monthly credit card use and balances and devise a plan to pay off that credit before the interest rates build up, causing an even further strain on their finances."
GreenPath Debt Solutions offers free financial counseling to seniors in the areas of debt, debt management, budgeting, housing issues (including reverse mortgages for seniors), bankruptcy and more. Log on to www.greenpath.com or call (866) 648-8122.
About GreenPath Debt Solutions
GreenPath Debt Solutions is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Our customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates 60 full-time branch offices. They also deliver licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
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SOURCE GreenPath Debt Solutions