Although unemployment and inflation have been higher in the past 30 years, a majority of people age 60 or older have a very pessimistic outlook, according to a poll by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.


Fifty-three percent said they believe economic conditions are worse than they have experienced in the past. Eighty-seven percent said they are cutting back on spending, and of this group, 70% are budgeting themselves on such essentials as food and transportation. Eighty-two percent are cutting back on non-essentials, such as dining out and vacations, and 17% said they have had to help family members experiencing difficulties.


“There is no doubt that older Americans are being adversely affected by the current situation,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “A closer look at the findings shows that women are tightening their spending habits more than men, and not surprisingly, those who earn less are cutting back even more.”


Timmermann went on to say that senior citizens are feeling “particularly vulnerable”—and yet, they are not changing their retirement plans. A full 73% said they would not postpone their retirement date.


About 20% of respondents said they have a greater appreciation for Social Security, leading Timmermann to conclude that “many older Americans better understand the importance of guaranteed income.”


The poll of 538 adults was conducted in July by Harris Interactive.

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