There are four major days / events in May. I mentioned Mother’s Day in a previous column, so I would like to say a few words about the other three. One month and two days.
In 1963, President Kennedy established May as the Month of Older Americans. At that time, there were 17 million Americans over the age of 65. They could then consider 65 years old because the average life expectancy for a man was 69 years and for a woman 73 years.
Even after accounting for the pandemic, the averages are now about ten years higher for both men and women. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, we are getting closer to 50 million people who can be called older Americans, at least by the late president’s definition.
As more and more people reach this milestone, our landscape is changing, with new housing developments adapted to the needs of our aging population.
Social Security and Medicare are the two government programs designed especially for them. And both are struggling financially, because such a large segment of our population is now over 65.
In 1963, the average Social Security payment was $ 93 per month. That’s the equivalent of $ 805 in today’s dollars. The current average benefit is around $ 1,500.
In the financial services industry, there are many new regulations to help protect vulnerable seniors from unscrupulous people who try to take advantage of them by stealing money from their wallets and nesting eggs. While many members of this age group live vibrant lifestyles in retirement communities, others depend on caregivers to help them in their day-to-day lives.
You are probably familiar with 529 college savings plans, but did you know May 29 is college savings day? There are a plethora of college savings programs out there, but the two most popular are prepaid tuition programs and investment programs.
The obvious benefit of prepaid programs is that they lock in tuition fees before they go up. Yes, they will. With the 529 investment programs, you can choose your funds from a wide menu. Money grows tax free and can be withdrawn if used correctly for education. As with any investment, due diligence is required before committing your money.
The cost of higher education is increasing at an alarming rate. Far too many students are drowning in loan debt. In fact, there are also many retirees who have co-signed their children’s loans and are now paying off student loan debts in retirement.
And then there’s the one date that’s on everyone’s calendar and almost impossible to ignore. Memorial Day. No words can express how grateful we should all be to those who gave their lives to defend our great nation.
Our wonderful lifestyle hasn’t just changed over time. It was bought and paid for by those who served in the military. After watching the evening news, I often think that maybe we overlook the big picture. Individually and as a nation, I fear we get bogged down on trivial matters.
It costs a pretty penny to pay for a retirement that could last a third of your life. Even with 529 programs, college tuition is getting more and more expensive. But the most expensive of all is the cost of our freedom. Let’s all think about that tomorrow.
Securities offered by LPL Financial, member of FINRA / SIPC. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken is a registered representative of LPL Financial. Ken is vice president of the Society for Lifetime Planning. All opinions expressed are those of Ken Morris. LPL and Society for Lifetime Planning are independent companies. Investing involves risks, including loss of capital. No strategy ensures success or protects against loss. Before investing in a 529 plan, investors should determine whether the home state of the investor or designated beneficiary offers state tax or other state benefits such as financial assistance, scholarships and creditor protection which are only available for qualified tuition investments in that state. program. Withdrawals used for qualifying expenses are exempt from federal tax. State tax treatment may vary. Please consult your tax advisor before investing.