In “By 2050, There Could Be as Many as 25 Million Poor Elderly Americans,” I cast a pall over some good news from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. They celebrate that the value of older Americans’ homes is growing faster than their debt. I show how poverty among the elderly will increase by 180 percent over the next generation.
My bad news is the result of some simple back-of-the envelope calculations. As the Baby-Boomers retire, the number of elderly Americans will grow by about 106%. Due to America’s deteriorating retirement system, a growing share of them will be in or near poverty. The result? The number of poor retirees will increase from 8.9 million in 2010 to about 25 million in 2050 -a jump of 180%.
The good news is this scenario is not inevitable. To avoid a retirement crisis, we need to take two steps. First, expand - not cut - Social Security. Second, implement Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs), mandatory, pooled savings accounts to supplement Social Security which will let all workers enjoy a comfortable and dignified retirement.