As we reported on the lack of a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment for 2016, the concept of the CPI-E, or Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, came up a few times. This was always contrasted with “the” CPI. The articles we referenced talked about differences in the CPI-E, but they made it seem like it was a departure from some universal, overarching CPI. The Hill points out that actually, “the” CPI that Social Security uses is actually the “Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)”. Put in that light, switching to the CPI-E makes even more sense than it did before.
This blog has covered a few scams target seniors in the past, but earlier this week, U.S. News & World Report came out with a fairly comprehensive list along with the basics of how to avoid the scams. Some of it may seem like common sense, but it’s worth reviewing. Perhaps more importantly, Six months ago, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority initiated the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors (844-57-HELPS or 844-574-3577). If you have any questions about advisors or investments, don’t hesitate to give them a call.
The Houston Chronicle has assembled a list of the 20 most dangerous products for the elderly based on data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The good news is, no matter how you look at it, these are the 20 most dangerous things, in terms of number of injuries, so you can consult the list and take appropriate precautions. The bad news is, they reported the data in a spectacularly not-useful way — in terms of total numbers. So, for example, the graph for injuries from “non power tools” is basically flat. Given the tremendous increase in the elderly population, we take that to mean these items are far safer than they were 15 years ago.
Bipartisan congressional leadership has agreed on a two year budget plan seemingly primarily designed to push the problem past the elections — but there’s good news. The package includes special provisions to protect seniors from next year’s projected spike in Medicare premiums, in addition to make some long-term modifications which will result in Social Security budgetary savings. More details are available on USA Today.
In last week’s Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health reported that twice the percentage of people aged 80 to 84 are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, when compared to the 65 to 69 year-old age group. While it does seem at least remotely possible that all of you old fogeys have gone clinically insane, it turns out that’s not actually true. Seventy-five percent of seniors given such a prescription actually had no documented mental disorder that year.
There have been several successful reports of integrating the elderly with children (e.g., but mixing senior centers and day-care, as this blog has covered before). But, Boston is taking that a little beyond “children”. They’ve decided to put a senior center and a high school in one building. Results so far seem fairly positive, with the groups mingling even if that hasn’t been explicitly encouraged. However, we’ll see in the long term how well senior citizens can tolerate “the youth of today”.
It seems that since the days they were invented, Social Security and Medicare have been both “the third rail of politics” and “on the verge of failing”. With the recent news on the lack of a COLA increases for 2016, the pundits are out in force. The group we mentioned a few weeks ago — the AMA, affectionately known as “the conservative AARP” — at a tribute for tribute to Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), are bewailing that ‘The Pot is Going to Go Empty…’.
OK. So now pretty much everyone is in agreement that the housing market is in good, and improving, shape. But does that mean it’s back to where it was before the recession? Yes and no. From a purely financial perspective, we are pretty much back there. But if you dig into the details, things start to look a little different. First, new homes being built are bigger (2,200 sq ft., vs. 1,800 sq. ft. for most of the aughts). Second, buyers are getting older, with the new median age for homebuyers having steadily increased to 43.
The bad news? Americans aren’t reading as much 28% of Americans claim not to have read a single book in the last year, a figure up from 21% as recently as 2011. But the good news is, that while readership does tend to decline with age, senior citizens have managed to stay marginally ahead of the 50-64 year-old age group, with 69% of you having read at least one book in the last 12 months. The article also links to the original Pew survey, for those who want to dig into the details.
This blog has carried a couple of posts recently on some unusual activities in which the elderly are engaging around the world, but this one may take the cake. In fact, it’s not so much something that is a trend, with lots of the elderly engaging in it, but I do have to give this one particular full props. Nonagenarian Edith Traina took up the sport of power lifting at the age of 91. It will be truly exciting if she hits her goal: lifting 90kg for her 100th birthday! Tell the truth, don’t you fell just a little lazy now?