Half (49 percent) of African-American New Yorkers age 50 years and older will delay retirement if the economy doesn’t improve, according to an AARP survey. Among respondents who planned to delay retirement, 41 percent said they would delay retirement for five or more years and 13 percent expect never to retire. The survey also found large gaps between what older Black New Yorkers believe they need to remain healthy, secure and active and what they expect to have.
The study is part of AARP’s broader Voices of 50+ America: Dreams & Challenges survey conducted in January nationwide, including in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is one of several tools that AARP, the nation’s largest nonpartisan nonprofit catering to the 50+ population, is using to guide its advocacy and informational work to help Americans stay healthy and live with financial independence. The findings for Black New Yorkers are similar to those of AARP’s survey of Pennsylvania’s 50+ population in general. While older Pennsylvanians dream of leisure pursuits, traveling and spending time with family in retirement, like their African-American counterparts in New York, they do not have the wherewithal to accomplish these goals due to growing concerns over health care and economic issues.
Among the New York findings:
• Almost everyone (98 percent) thought that staying healthy and having adequate health coverage was extremely important, yet less than one-third thought they had what they needed in regards to these two subjects.
• Worry about financial issues runs high, with 66 percent worried about how they would maintain their finances and lifestyle in retirement; 59 percent worried about managing debt; 65 percent concerned about saving for the future; and 50 percent worried about having access to work retirement savings plans.
• Asked if they had difficulty paying their monthly electric bill in the past 12 months, 48 percent said they did.
• Eighty percent worry about having to pay more for health care and 72 percent worry about becoming financially devastated due to health costs.
• Overall, confidence that their children’s generation will be better is not high. Only 37 percent feel confident that their children’s generation will be better than it has been for them.
Among the Pennsylvania survey’s findings:
• Almost half the respondents say the cost of health care and staying healthy are the top problem or challenge facing midlife and older adults in their state. Nearly three in 10 cite economic issues as the largest challenge.
• At a more personal level, adults 50+ say vacations and seeing their children and grandchildren happy are what they personally dream about doing next in their lives.
• More than nine in 10 say staying healthy, staying mentally sharp, having adequate health insurance, and receiving Social Security and Medicare when needed are extremely or very important to them.
• Only about two in 10 have what they need to protect themselves from consumer fraud. About three in 10 have what they need to stay healthy.
• More than eight in 10 worry about one or more financial issues. Public assistance benefits and maintaining finances and lifestyle in retirement are worries for more than six in 10.
• More than half are experiencing some difficulty paying monthly household utility costs.
• About 40 percent worry about one or more consumer protection issues. Almost eight in 10 were concerned enough about protecting themselves against consumer fraud and unfair and deceptive business practices that they regularly review their credit-card and other financial statements.
• Nearly all say it is important to have long-term care services that allow people to remain in their own homes.
• In the current economy, adults 50+ believe it is important to protect education and local public safety services (police and fire) from budget cuts. Eight in 10 believe it is important to protect home-care services that allow people to stay in their own home.