How do senior citizens in the Northeast spend money during their golden years?

Published Jun 25, 2017 at 9:00am

DALLAS, TEXAS Seniors are often portrayed as either enjoying a life of retirement ease or, on the other end of the spectrum, having to choose between medicine and groceries.

But the reality is somewhere in the middle according to a new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

“More seniors report owning a home than they did 25 years ago, but more of them also carry mortgage, home equity loan or line of credit
debt,” explained author, Senior Fellow Pamela Villarreal.

Some of the main reasons for variations in northeastern seniors financial states are:

• More northeastern seniors (age 65 and over) have college degrees, own cars and own homes compared to 25 years ago. However, one out of five home-owning senior carry mortgage debt, up from 10 percent in 1990.

• Food and clothing expenditures have fallen substantially for northeastern seniors. Moreover, they are spending more on discretionary items such as hobbies, pets and entertainment.

• In 2015, 79 percent of northeastern seniors owned or leased at least one vehicle, compared to 70 percent in 1990; In 1990, health insurance premium costs as a percentage of seniors’ total health care expenses were less than half of total health care expenses (not including Medicare Part B premiums that are deducted from Social Security checks).

• Out-of-pocket medical expenses were about 37 percent, drug expenses were about 16 percent and medical equipment was less than 4 percent.

• By 2015, however, health insurance premiums accounted for almost 70 percent of the health care expense pie, although out-of-pocket medical expenses fell by more than half (15.5 percent).

• While there is always room for financial improvements, the past few decades have revealed many gains for northeastern seniors argued Senior Fellow Villarreal.

“In 1959, the rate of poverty among seniors was 35 percent, but it is now less 9 percent, the lowest among all age groups,” said Villarreal. “Furthermore, northeastern seniors are more mobile independent and educated than ever before.”

For full report:

NOTE: The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. We bring together the best and brightest minds to tackle the country’s most difficult public policy problems — in health care, taxes, retirement, education, energy and the environment. Visit our website today for more information.