Friday, June 6, 2008

No Shelter from Foreclosure

As some of you may know, the Associated Press recently reported that former television star Ed McMahon may lose his Los Angeles home to foreclosure. While this economic downturn may just now begin to be felt by wealthy Americans, the majority of us have been at its mercy for quite some time.

Older Americans have been particularly vulnerable in this foreclosure wave having to surrender their last asset as the costs of medical coverage, home upkeep, and other goods and services continue to eclipse their retirement incomes. As WOW Executive Director, Joan Kuriansky stated in Thursday's press release "The news reports of the foreclosure proceedings on Ed McMahon's home in Los Angeles begs the question, 'If Mr. McMahon, with all his status and resources, is in this situation, what are the prospects for ordinary men and women living on fixed incomes?'"
WOW's Elder Economic Security Initiative™ in partnership with the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has created the Elder Economic Security Standard Index™ in order to help policymakers, service providers and others construct realistic and effective policies and programs to help older Americans secure the income necessary to live independently and well.

The Index is a realistic measure of what it costs to live in the US today, with the data calculated on a county by county basis. In Los Angeles County, where Mr. McMahon lives, it takes $30,591 for a single senior just to meet housing and other minimum basic expenses when they are still carrying a mortgage. If they have paid off their mortgage, they still need $16,355 per year to meet basic expenses. Figures like these help to put things into perspective when taking into consideration that the vast majority of older Americans have only a small fraction of the economic resources of Mr. McMahon. For example, The average Social Security payment of $12,540 is not enough to live on, and yet, one out of three seniors in California rely exclusively on Social Security to cover their basic costs.

To find out what it takes for seniors to make ends meet in your area, please visit the EESI website:
Comments Please: Have you noticed older neighbors in your community losing their homes to forclosure?