Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How much on average does it cost per month to run a household, if you are retired and over 65?

I don’t know, and couldn’t easily find good statistics - which I showed above as two unknowns X and Y. But I easily found the answer to another question - how much does it cost to run a household if you just are 65 or older? There was an article by Dayana Yochim on May 31, 2018 at USA Today mistitled Let’s get real about planning: what an average retirement costs. (It had originally appeared at NerdWallet on May 28th). Also, it was reprinted at MarketWatch on June 5th, where Jane Genova found it and used it in a post at her Speechwriter-Ghostwriter blog titled Households heading into retirement – be prepared to spend average of $3800 monthly. That NerdWallet article actually said:

“According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which is based on 2016 figures, ‘older households’ - defined as those run by someone 65 and older - spend an average of $45,756 per year, or roughly $3,800 a month.”

But not everyone older than 65 is retired. On June 20, 2016 there was another article by Drew DeSilver at the Pew Research Center titled More older Americans are working, and working more, than they used to. It reported:

“In May, 18.8% of Americans ages 65 and older, or nearly 9 million people, reported being employed full – or part-time, continuing a steady increase that dates to at least 2000 (which is as far back as we took our analysis).”

In 2000 only 12.5% were employed, and the increase to 18.8% was roughly a straight line. The other 81.2% were retired. When you are researching statistics for writing a speech or a blog post it often is useful to make a simple drawing (or perhaps a Venn diagram) to illustrate which numbers really are of interest and how they are connected.

Would you expect older adults who are working to have less or more expenses than those who are retired? I don’t know. Perhaps they are continuing to work because they need to since they haven’t saved enough to retire comfortably. That might mean they have less expenses to match a lower income. Or they could be Type A personalities – outgoing, ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, impatient, and simply unable to let go of a job that has come to define them. That might mean they have more expenses.      

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