Americans celebrate living longer

As Americans celebrate “Older American Month”, statistics reveal that more people are living longer than ever.

When Older Americans Month was first observed in 1963, only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Today, there are more than 36 million people age 65 and older, and by the year 2030, there will be about twice that number.

Older Americans are living longer than ever before. In 1935, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was 77. Today it is 82, and rising. Many Americans are living long beyond this expectation. In fact, centenarians are among the fastest-growing population groups in the United States.

Of course, longer lives mean that Americans need to plan even more carefully for the future. As more Americans are able to enjoy longer lives, it is important that they also have enough income to provide for those additional years.

The Social Security program provides an economic foundation for older Americans. Social Security pays monthly retirement benefits to more than 32 million retired workers and their family members. And more than nine in 10 Americans who are age 65 or older get Social Security benefits.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker is about $955; the average monthly benefit for a retired worker and his or her spouse is about $1,575. But Social Security is only a financial foundation for retirement and Older Americans Month might also be a good time for all workers to assess their financial prospects for actually being able to “celebrate long-term living.”

For younger workers, a good first step would be to take a look at your Social Security Statement, which comes in the mail each year about three months before your birthday. It will tell you how much to expect from Social Security. Then you can make plans to supplement your Social Security benefits with pensions, savings and other investments.

The important thing to remember is not to delay making financial plans for a long and happy life. Begin today.

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