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LTC Bullet: Seniors' Income Gains Dwarf Others

Friday September 4, 1998


The Washington Post recently analyzed new Census Bureau data showing that seniors' incomes have grown more than for any other demographic group.

The Census Bureau's analysis of household income from 1969-1996 shows a 57 percent rise in real median income for married couples over age 65 compared to a 6.3 percent increase for all households. Incomes for single men and women over age 65 rose 63 percent. The elderly are now the least likely segment of the population to be poor.

According to the article, "the result has been to create a very different profile of retirement and aging....Now most older Americans are able to either live at home or, in a small but growing number of cases, move into retirement communities and assisted living facilities that enable them
to live more active lives."

The article points out, however, that circumstances can change dramatically in post-retirement years. "At age 65...many are coming off peak earning years, still live in a home they own, enjoy relatively good health and are sitting on a nest egg. But a decade later, women have lost their husbands, are beginning to suffer from more expensive, debilitating health problems, and are working their way through savings."

Purchasing long-term care insurance during or soon after peak earning years protects seniors from the risk of catastrophic long-term care costs at a time when premiums are most affordable.

Agents often describe husbands who are unwilling to seriously consider insurance despite their wives' worries over caring for themselves when their husbands are gone. The Post article shows how these fears can materialize. Another interesting fact that should give husbands pause:
Without the contribution of wives, the 57 percent rise in median income for senior couples would have only been 34 percent.

Source: Barbara Vobejda, "Elderly Lead All in Financial Improvement," Washington Post, September 1, 1998, pg. A03.