The good news regarding older Americans' financial situation is that their average income rose over the decade from 1999 to 2009 while the number of elderly people living in poverty fell. Yet despite these positive trends, a considerable number of older people are struggling. Poverty rates were nearly 20 percent for African-American and Hispanic adults above age 65 during this time period. And among older women living alone, one-third of Hispanics and almost one-half of African-Americans were poor [source: Administration on Aging].
Older Americans' financial future is uncertain. The majority rely on fixed incomes, like Social Security and pensions, yet housing costs, health care costs and life expectancies all continue to rise. For example, some experts recommend that, for economic security, no more than 10 percent of a person's gross income should go to health care expenses [source: Meschede et al]. In 2009, annual health care costs for older adults averaged around $4,800. But the individual median income was only $25,000 , so some older adults might be going without needed tests or prescribed medications [source: Administration on Aging].
On a more positive note, money can't buy love -- which is good news for older adults, because they're not ready to give it up. Read on to learn more.