Hi there. In this lecture, we're going to be taking a look at financial worries for  seniors. The financial worries that seniors face are very real, and they're very  significant. I was telling you about those friends of mine last time, and a couple  of them who, well, actually, all three of them were members of a certain union as they were driving their truck, and so on, and they, they have their retirement  savings all tied up with the union pension plan. And that's, that's all, it's all well  and good, except that that pension plan is due to run out of money, literally ran  out of money for 1000s of former truck drivers. By 2025. That means they've  only got about four more years, and then the checks stop coming, and is the  main source of their income as seniors. So for them, the financial worry that they don't want to talk about is what do we do when the checks stop arriving? I just  want to look at some of the financial worries for seniors with you this time. Life  expectancy in the United States from 1860 2020. There's this graph, and you  can see how it has been on a general incline up for these 160 years. And back  in 1860, life expectancy was 40. Now I happen to be 68. And we didn't get to  that life expectancy until about 1950. So when I was born, the typical person  born that year could expect to live to be about 68, which is the age I have now.  And so with with increased medical care and with better dealing with with issues that arise from aging, and with our our illnesses, we've managed to keep  stretching and stretching and stretching, life expectancy except in the last last  decade, it has slipped down just a little bit. So we've kind of reached the top of  thing, which is that 78-79 years old. That's the That's the life expectancy. Now.  The reason I put this up, though, is because I think this helps us to see why  ministry to seniors is so important in this era. It didn't used to be there until about 19, about 1980, there really wasn't a large cohort of people in any given  congregation, who were what we would call senior citizens. Most of the people  who would have retired most of the friends had died. And so there weren't that  many who were older anymore. And this also has created issues in the church  because again until until 1960, you know, even there, they're 70 years old, it was in 1960 life expectancy. Today, I understand, you know, as I look around and I'd  look at at the elders who are leaders of church, most of them are 70 to 80 to 85  years of age. The younger people are allowing the older ones to be in charge.  And yet that often is causing some real issues in the church because we don't  know why young people are leaving well. One reason young people are leaving  in my mind is because the senior citizens are making sure that the church  remains exactly the way they want it to be. And they really don't think that they  need to do something to make sure that the grandkids keep coming because the grandkids should just be there. They don't need to be coddled or whatever the  word is. Instead, we want to coddle the senior citizens. And so we have  challenges. And I think ministry to seniors is one of those challenges that needs  to be met head on, so that we can meet the spiritual needs of those who are  living longer and having more issues in their lives as they get older. And one of 

them, of course, is financial issues. One of the most troubling issues that face  seniors and about which they do not wish to speak is running out of money.  Now, this isn't just running out of money before the next paycheck. This is just  plain, running out of money. Now, when, when my father was a little kid, he set  off to work, because his parents needed him to he was 11 years old, when he  started paying his own way in the world. And he worked and worked and saved  and, and, you know, did all kinds of little jobs here little job there so that when he died at 88, he had paid his own way, all the way to the end. And he was out, that was something that was very important to him, that he had managed to earn his  living, and that even he worked until he's about 85, in order to accomplish that.  But when he died, there were five of us, children and his estate amounted to  about $250 for each of us. So he had just over $1,000 left when he died, so he  was very close to what we would call running out of money. But he had made it  all the way. And that was a privilege for him to be able to say that he had done  that. Now, sources differ. But the story remains the same. According to a 2018  study by Northwestern Mutual, that's a life insurance company here in the  United States. They're based in Wisconsin somewhere 21% of all Americans  have no retirement savings at all. That's one of every five Americans have no  retirement savings, and additional 10%. So that gets us up to 31% have less  than $5,000 in savings. And just just imagine that 31% of all Americans have  less than $5,000 in their savings account. And a third of baby boomers, these  are the people who, like me are moving into retirement at this point. Like the  third of the baby boomers currently in or approaching retirement age, had  between nothing and $25,000. Set aside. That's all once they're a baby  boomers, people going into retirement at this point, have $25,000 or less all the  way down to nothing. Set aside for retirement. They're hoping to live on Social  Security, and they're keeping on working. That's all they really can hope to do.  So 1/3 of those born between 1946 and 1964 have $25,000 or less for their  retirement, but financial experts advise that the average 65 year old should have between $1,000,000 and $1.5 million dollars set aside for retirement. Yeah,  that's the financial experts. Most of us live in quite a different world and what the financial experts advise. However, what they do, what we do need to understand from the financial experts is that it takes money to live in retirement. And we  really need to be thinking about that. And as soon as you minister with senior  citizens, it's a it's a bad problem for us to try to deal with the fact that there's not  enough money. And, you know, that figure that I just had there is that the  problem with that is that most people still struggle to survive day to day. In fact,  only 12% of Americans in their 60s and 70s have $1 million or more in their nest  states according to a new survey from TD Ameritrade, that's a stock trading  house. Only one out of eight Americans in their 60s and 70s have that $1 million more or more. So not only on the bottom end do we have about a third of senior  citizens who don't even have more over $25,000. But on the top end, we don't 

have 12% who have enough money to, to live out their days without running out  of money. So what that says to me is that seven out of eight, live with the fear  that they're going to run out of money. It's only one out of eight retirees has the  amount that it's estimated they will need to live out their days and have  something left over for funeral expenses. The fact that retirees, senior citizens  do not have enough money to live out their days, weighs heavily on their minds  on their shoulders. They don't know where the money is going to come from.  And that affects how they live before the face of God. That affects how they live  with each other and affects what they can they can do. There's just so many  ways that senior citizens need someone to minister to them. Who dares to help? And maybe all it is being able to talk about it just to be able to say, you know, do  you ever do you ever think about what you're going to do? If if the money runs  out? Not many people want to talk about it. Boston College Center for  Retirement Research, did a survey some time ago. And what they discovered is  that eight in 10 middle income boomers currently have some debt. Now this is  this is not Do I have money set aside? Do I have retirement savings, they're  looking at debt. And they found that eight out of 10 of the middle income  boomers currently have some debt three and 10 devote more than 40% of their  monthly income to debt. 30% of boomers spend more than 40% of their monthly income trying to pay down debt. 25% of boomers in the middle income area,  have a mortgage with more than 20 years remaining on it. And more than half  say they intend to enter retirement debt free but only one quarter of retired  boomers are actually debt free. Federal Reserve data suggests that these are  the average debt levels by age from 18 to 23. People are racking up almost  $10,000 worth of debt. Then from age 24 to 39, that debt increases significantly  to $78,400. So that's how deeply debt and then they get to age 40 to 55. And  they're even deeper in debt $136,000 in debt. And these are people who need to be setting aside money in order to be able to retire later on. But they're instead  using much of their income for debt service. When you get to 56 to 74 year olds, it's almost $100,000, $97,000. of debt that they're carrying. And it's about  $41,000 For those who are 75 and older. Now imagine that $41,000 of debt if  you see if you see somebody 75 or older, you you can safely assume that if  they're an average 75 year old, they have $41,000 of debt, let alone having  money to live on. This is a deeply stressing thing for senior citizens and it's an  opportunity for caring for supporting in the midst of that, because psychologically and, and spiritually it is such a burden that they're carrying. So as it turns out,  senior citizen defined in the data, though is over the age of 70, are an  increasingly debt burden demographic and had been becoming one for quite  some time between 1999 and 2019. That's 20 years span. According to the New York Federal Reserve debt among older Americans increased by 543%. That  was the biggest increase in any demographic segment. So people over 70,  between 1999 and 2019, their debt increased by 543%. So let's put it differently. 

If if they owed $100, in 1999, the average one order $100, by the time 2019,  rolled around the average senior citizen owned, owed $543. And all you have to  do is take that up into the 1000s. And pretty soon you realize the amount of  money owed by senior citizens is staggering. So currently, according to data  from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total debt burden faced by  seniors 70 and older has grown to $1.1 trillion. That's the debt of senior citizens  70 and older. If you jumped down a disciple a decade, the situation is much the  same consumers in their 60s have seen their debt burden bounce up by 471%,  in that 20 year time to $2.14 trillion. add those two numbers together, when you  find that people aged 60 and over, oh, $3.24 trillion to various creditors, not only  not only do senior citizens not have savings, they owe over $3 trillion of debt.  And that's a burden to deep spiritual burden that they carry. And it's something  that as we minister to seniors we need to be aware of because, you know, to  make a suggestion that somebody let's all go out to dinner together into a nice  restaurant, there's going to be several who might be willing to but they shouldn't, because they're already in debt, and they don't have enough money to pay their  bills, and why should we add something on to it, we need to be careful and  aware and sensitive to how things are for the senior citizens. Ministry for seniors can't overlook the fact of the debt burden. It's one of the more depressing  situations seniors find themselves in. And one of the issues is, nobody wants to  admit it. We do not want to talk to somebody about our debt. It's just, it's just too  difficult to talk about it. We don't want anybody helping us with our personal  financial situation because we're we're really to embarrassed to admit that  situation that we are in that, that we have failed to plan. And because of that we  find ourselves burdened burden burden with a huge stack of debt. And then add  to all this and saddening to discover that seniors particularly are the target of the host of scams that are taking seniors money away. You know, some examples of ways unscrupulous people are taking seniors by Medicare insurance scam by  means of phone call. I get these all time. Hello, I'm calling from the Medicare  office and I need to tell you that we are cutting off your Medicare journey  because we sense that you are being fraudulent with it. And now if you want us  to help you fix this, please you know, do this, this this and usually what it  amounts to is if you send us You know, $2,000, then we'll make sure that the  accusations of fraud, and Medicare insurance fraud will go away. Well, that's not real. And they just take that money. Others are producing counterfeit prescription drugs that they sell to seniors over the internet, you know, you can buy this and  that and next thing and it's all, it's counterfeit, they're not real. And so this, this is  a very significant danger to senior citizens who need the right medications, in  order for them to have a good life and have their their health maintained by  means of these prescriptions. There's funeral and cemetery scams, where  people will, will market things to the to senior citizen as a way to pre plan their  funeral and to sell them a cemetery plot. And, and they have done that, for many

other people with that same cemetery plot over and over and over again, and  they get paid about $8 or $9,000, so that their heirs do not need to worry about  final expenses. And and when they die, they discover that this thing they thought they had was nothing. There's telemarketers who are constantly focusing on the  senior citizen because senior citizens often don't understand what's going on.  There's investment schemes, I'm invited, as a 68 year old, I'm invited to all these the these free dinners at a nice restaurant with some investment companies,  and there they are, they're getting you there so that they can tell you about their  investment strategies for for senior citizens and how they can save you tax  money and so on. And I've gone to one of them. And I thought, Oh, my  goodness, this is a scam. And my wife being the brave person that she has  called them up after we were there and said, you know, what you were talking  about? just isn't right. And they quickly told her that well, you know, probably  isn't right for you, and so on and so on. But sometimes people get taken by  these investment schemes. And then the really sad one is the grandparent  scam, where somebody gets a phone call, Hi, this is your grandson zone zone  where I'm, I'm in London and I got arrested. And they're not going to let me out  of jail unless you send $3,000 in bail, you know, this afternoon. And so the  grandparent being the loving grandparent, they are rushed to the bank and wire  the money. And it's never seen again and actually their grand son was not in  London at all. Whenever somebody gets taken by one of those, the the sense of loss and embarrassment is just awful. So what can we do? Well, I think one  thing a church might do is to have an accounting student that they hire, to just  help with seniors taxes. It's often confusing to a senior and can be a source of  embarrassment when handled by a child. The student will cost more money, but  the gratitude of the seniors will be great. And most seniors taxes are very simple to do. And so a an accounting student would get lots of good experience, just  helping seniors with their taxes and keeping it from being a source of  embarrassment when they're talking with their children and they have to open  up their their finances and show their child how they've been taken advantage of or how they have failed to save enough money. Maybe you can set up a service  where an experienced bookkeeper helps seniors make sense of their financial  situation. Money, debt, so on. For many people, these are just a source of  befuddlement and they don't know quite what to do. And one reason to pursue  this as a church or ministry is because there are so many scammers who will  take grandpa's money and disappear. And you and I don't want that to happen  to those that we care about and we minister to. So financial issues for senior  citizens will be something to ponder as you minister to seniors. what ways might you think of to open up the discussion with someone? Think about it. Catch you  next time. 

Last modified: Thursday, December 14, 2023, 2:52 PM