Serving Our Seniors completed a study of the lifestyle and needs of 495 older people in Erie County.
The last time we conducted a survey was in 1998 to learn how we could help older people maintain their independence. It was there that we learned prescriptive health care was causing a problem for older people and their financial stability.
Today, the needs and conditions of older people have changed. We did not survey the issue of affordable prescriptive health care because we know factually that there are now available venues that provide for affordable prescriptive health care (The Drug Repository, Medicare Part D, and manufacturers’ “Patient Assistance Programs.” If you don’t know about these programs, call Serving Our Seniors 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856 for more information.) But one of the interesting findings is how many older people who still have a house payment and how many still have a car payment.
-- Slightly more than 98 percent of people ages 65 to 75 still own a truck or car and 25 percent of them have a car payment. The average payment is $299 per month. That would have been rare to find ten years ago,
-- Twenty-eight percent of people ages 65-75 who own their home still have a mortgage. Of that group who still have a mortgage, 64 percent will not have their house mortgage paid off in five years.
I share this information not to assign a “good” or “bad” value for these lifestyle choices. I am sharing it because it is a shift in the economic mentality of older people compared to 10 years ago.
In the past, people in the 65-75 age group were opposed to having debt in later life -- even if they were financially stable. The big-ticket items they purchased were bought outright or they didn’t buy it.
Today that personal financial philosophy has changed. It appears as though more older people in the 65 – 75 age group are comfortable carrying debt even as they age beyond 80.