Robert Pagels identifies the reality for many of our senior citizens living in retirement. The increase in the Social Security benefit exactly covers the increase he will have to pay for his Medicare coverage. Meanwhile, the cost of everything else continues to rise.
Ideally, retirees are able to supplement their income from Social Security with additional income from a pension or 401k. Unfortunately, many Americans who will be retiring in the next 10-20 years have not saved enough to adequately supplement their Social Security benefit in retirement. A March 2015 research report published by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) came to some pretty stark conclusions about America’s retirement readiness. The report points out that the average household holds a retirement savings balance of just $2,500. More concerning is the report’s indication that over 45% of American households have no money in a retirement savings account. Unfortunately, many Americans are relying entirely on Social Security and Medicare to live on in retirement. This reality makes Republican efforts to privatize Medicare and cut Social Security all the more cruel.
Recently, like other senior citizens, I was notified we would receive a 0.3 percent cost of living increase in our 2017 benefit. Wow, what good news after years of little or no increases!
But wait, the cost of Medicare is also increasing. Lo and behold, the result is that the monthly amount that will be coming in 2017 is the same as 2016. Well, I guess that means there will be no increases in the price of food, utilities, health insurance, doctor and drug co-pays and other everyday living expenses.