The New Jersey Foundation for Aging, in partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), held an Elder Economic Summit last week. The goal of the summit was to break down silos among groups working on behalf of the economic security of elders.
The cost of living in New Jersey is among the highest in the nation. According to WOW’s Elder Index, it costs a single renter in New Jersey $24,452 to make ends meet each year. It costs even more for a senior with a mortgage – $34,947 – to meet basic needs and about 1 in 5 seniors in New Jersey is still paying off a mortgage.
Many people are not saving enough for retirement; in fact, 1 in 4 people rely on Social Security for 90% of their income. The average Social Security payment for a woman in New Jersey is $12,741, providing only 36% to 52% of what she needs to make ends meet (depending on whether she is a renter, homeowner or has a mortgage). It is clear that many seniors need services to help close this large gap.
In addition to already stretched budgets, seniors are unfortunately often the target of financial predators. The summit brought together credit and debt counseling and money management programs to illustrate the importance of collaboration amongst all service providers and how working together benefits the entire financial picture for seniors.
The leadership of the New Jersey Foundation on Aging and the outcomes of this summit will help unite service providers throughout the state to ultimately strengthen the economic security of elders.