They may not have expected it or anticipated it; though a growing number of older Americans are spending their retirement years in poverty, according to an Employee Benefit Research study. The proportion of older people living below the poverty line has been growing steadily since 2005, and it’s only getting worse.
Poverty rates for people ages 65 to 74 climbed from 7.9 percent in 2005 to 9.4 percent in 2009, according to the same EBR study. For older retirees ages 75 to 84, there was an even steeper increase, from 7.6 percent to 10.7 percent over the same time period. But it’s the oldest retirees who are the most likely to live in poverty: 14.6 percent did so in 2009. In 2010, the National Alliance to End Homelessness predicted that homeless rates among the elderly would climb by 33 percent in a decade’s time.
This topic is so very sad. Retirement for Americans is supposed to be a joyous time where you get to do all the things you never got to do–like travel, spend time with grandkids, and enjoy much neglected hobbies. It’s not meant to be a time when money is a big issue!
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I was thinking about my late Grandmother the other day. I remembered an incident that put her in the hospital. She had stopped taking her medication and her body went into shock. When we asked her why she did that, she replied with tears in her eyes that she couldn’t afford her medication. She had to make a choice between her medication and her basic living expenses. Well that really opened up all of our eyes to the plight of her and many other senior citizens living in today’s society.
So in honor of my Grandmother and the upcoming anniversary of her death (3 years) I want to go through all the discounts available for our nation’s aging population. There are quite a number of perks and discounts offered to people over age 50. These should save you money so you never have to make the choice between medication and basic living expenses.
Let’s start big and work our way down to the small things. Many companies offer discounts to senior citizens at the national level. Amtrak offers a 15 percent discount to riders 62 and older. Many other public transportation systems offer discounts or free rides to people over a certain age.
Many national restaurants offer discounts to older Americans too. You can get coffee cheap at McDonald’s if you are 55 or older, just 87 cents! Wendy’s and Taco Bell offer free drinks at some locations too. IHOP offers a special senior citizen menu for people age 55 and older five days a week.
There are too many restaurants to name that offer reduced prices to senior citizens. But I’ve found a good list you can refer to. Check out this site for a list of over 30 nationally known restaurants that offer discounts to people 50 and over.
Really every time you make a purchase you should ask about a senior discount. Many businesses offer discounts but don’t advertise them very well, so it pays to inquire. No matter if you are shopping at a store with a 1,000 locations or just one. You can expect to get discounts on clothing, groceries, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, airlines, rental cars, gym memberships, cell phones and much more! It would be impossible to list all of the discounts I found at retailers across the globe in this article. Instead check out seniordiscounts.com. The website is free to people in most geographical areas. You simply choose a category and put in the city and state you live in to see all the merchants that offer discounts to seniors. The list is extremely helpful and can save you a ton of money!
Another great money saver for seniors is AARP. AARP is the largest circulation magazine in the country. With a membership you get access to discounts at hundreds of places around the country. Anyone age 50 and older is eligible, and the membership fee is as low as $12.60 per year. When you register you get a 31 page booklet that outlines the numerous membership benefits and discounts. It covers a wide range of discounted services too, everything from insurance to dry cleaning.
I couldn’t list all of the discounts here, but I pulled out a few of my favorites:
* 20 percent discounts at 1-800-MATTRESS, as well as free shipping.
* 20 percent discount on digital hearing aids
* 25 percent off a car rental at Avis
* 20 percent discount at Starwood Hotels (W Hotels, Sheraton or Westin) and Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, or Clarion)
* 5 percent off a Norwegian Cruise Line
The point of all this is to find out about all the ways you can shave down your expenses in your Golden Years. No one wants Grandma or Grandpa to have to choose between paying for their medication or grocery bill each month.
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,