Bob Irish

From Bob Irish, editor, Retirement Insider: For many seniors, after paying the rent and filling prescriptions, there’s not much money for anything else. Like food.

Dorothy Abruzzo is 83. She says, “I never thought in my life I would have needed charity… I’m renting and on food stamps. I’ve put myself on a budget (for food)—$159 for the whole month.”

What’s it like to live on a food budget of just $5.50 per day? Let’s look:

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs: 50 cents, 1 piece of toast: 10 cents, 1 cup of instant coffee: 10 cents.
  • Lunch – Ham sandwich: $1.70 (3 ounces of ham: $1.50, 2 slices of bread: 20 cents).
  • Dinner – 8-ounce chicken breast: $1.50, baked potato: 50 cents, canned green beans: 75 cents.
  • Dessert/Snacks – You’ve got 35 cents left over to splurge. Check that. You need to save a little bit to maintain your supply of condiments, salt and pepper, and other basics.

Sure, you can subsist on $5.50 per day. But that’s about it. Forget fresh fruit. Forget wine with dinner. Forget eating out. It’s not exactly the quality of life anyone envisions for their sunset years.

And, sadly, Dorothy is not alone.

Hunger (also known as “food insecurity”) is the new normal for many seniors today. Nearly 1 in 6 faced the threat of hunger in 2012. And the number is growing…

  This is the “senior squeeze”…

The budget buster for many seniors is housing. According to a recent study, one-third of adults over 50 are moderately or severely burdened in terms of housing costs.

And if you spend an excessive amount of your income on housing, you have less to spend on food.

How to Avoid Retirement Poverty

In fact, those considered to be severely burdened spend 40% less on food than those in housing they can easily afford. And to make matters worse, what’s affordable today for some folks may not be tomorrow. Because as we age, median incomes decline.

Bottom line: There are two ways to dodge the “senior squeeze.” You can increase your income and/or cut expenses. Palm Beach Research Group is committed to providing you the best strategies to help you accomplish both.

Reeves’ Note: Bob goes on to reveal his preferred methods for cutting your expenses in the August issue of Retirement Insider. RI subscribers can access it right here.

(All readers can check out this inspiring practical example of our favorite way to slash expenses, for free, right here.)