SOURCE: Golden Gateway Financial

Golden Gateway Financial

December 08, 2009 08:06 ET

Older Americans Forced Into "Recession Lifestyle" in Order to Make Ends Meet According to New Survey by Golden Gateway Financial

Recession Has Led to Large Spending Cuts for Many Seniors and Those on Fixed Incomes

OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwire - December 8, 2009) - Older Americans continue to suffer a prolonged recovery from the recession. A recent survey by senior citizen financial resource Golden Gateway Financial found that many older Americans and retirees have been forced into a "Recession Lifestyle" that includes spending cuts and concessions in order to make ends meet.

The survey asked those individuals 62-and-older how the recession has affected some of their basic spending and living habits over the past year. Many reported minor changes that included helping or being helped by family members with bills, or cutting back on luxury items. But a few glaring concerns were uncovered, including the finding that nearly 30 percent of participating seniors have sold items to make extra money, or that 27 percent of those surveyed still haven't been able to pay their bills from unexpected medical expenses.

"It's obvious that older Americans and those on fixed incomes are having the hardest time recovering from the recession," said Eric Bachman, founder and CEO of Golden Gateway Financial. "We continue to hear from those in the midst of foreclosure, or those having difficulty making ends meet every month. It's imperative that we spotlight these difficulties and make sure that these individuals know that there are ways they can help themselves."

Participants were asked how their lives and spending have changed as a result of the recession. Overall, the survey found that many are able to make small adjustments that could lead to a larger difference over time. For example, by focusing on just basic necessities at the grocery store, those on a fixed income can save money for utility bills or put away a few dollars for those unexpected medical expenses. Additional observations include:

Medical Spending:

 -- Nearly 25 percent of those surveyed said they have postponed trips to
    the dentist or optometrist to save money
 -- More than 15 percent have stopped taking certain medications
    altogether or begun cutting back on the recommended dosage to continue
    affording their medicines
 -- Roughly eight percent have delayed elective procedures
 -- Of the 34 percent who have faced unexpected medical bills during the
    past year, many have been forced to find creative ways to pay those
    expenses:
    -- 28 percent have used a credit card
    -- 21 percent entered into a payment plan directly with their medical
       provider
    -- 27 percent have simply not paid

Living Situation:

--  More than 17 percent have had to take out a loan or trim their budget
    to maintain their current living situation
--  Three percent have begun sharing living quarters in order to make ends
    meet
--  Over ten percent have halted plans to move or join a retirement
    community
    

Shopping Habits:

--  21 percent of survey participants have begun shopping at bargain
    stores or warehouse clubs whenever possible
--  More than 25 percent have stopped purchasing all non-essential big-
    ticket items such as televisions and autos
--  Almost the same amount (25 percent) have eliminated spending on small
    luxury items such as Starbucks and dinners out
--  16 percent purchase only critical items when at the grocery store
    

Family Assistance:

--  25 percent of people surveyed said they have helped family members
    with their bills
--  10 percent said their family has helped them with bills
--  Nearly 15 percent have helped with grandchildren's expenses
--  More than 10 percent have allowed family members to live with them
    

Additional Income:

--  Almost 30 percent have sold unneeded items to make extra money in the
    recession
--  Nearly 10 percent of those who weren't working before the recession
    have returned to work, and almost 20 percent expect to do so soon
    

"Unfortunately, the 'Recession Lifestyle' is still all too real for many of our oldest citizens," continued Mr. Bachman. "It's unfortunate that in what should be the golden years of their lives, they are forced to make concessions just to put food on their tables."

The independent online survey, conducted with United Sample, Inc. (www.unitedsample.com) in partnership with Golden Gateway Financial, polled a nationwide representative sample of more than 300 senior citizens aged 62 or older. Of those who participated in the survey, more than half are currently retired. A complete list of questions and percentage answers are available at the Golden Gateway Financial website or by contacting the company.

To learn more about Golden Gateway Financial or to access the company's entire suite of retirement resources and tools, including its life settlement and award-winning reverse mortgage calculators, please visit http://www.goldengateway.com.

About Golden Gateway Financial

Golden Gateway Financial (http://www.goldengateway.com), located in Oakland, California, is a comprehensive resource for older Americans to assess their financial health. Through a unique set of online tools and information, the company helps individuals make intelligent financial decisions so they can more fully enjoy what should be the best years of their lives. The company also operates the industry's premier reverse mortgage and life settlement services with innovative new calculators and products for each, and a team of trained consultants that helps seniors better understand and evaluate their options.

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