Declining home values delay retirement for middle-income Americans

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Declining housing values, coupled with depleted investment portfolios and a looming social security crunch, are making it much more difficult for Americans to retire. A conservative estimate says that 51 percent of Americans today could not retire at age 65 and also maintain their standard of living, according to the National Retirement Risk Index, a scale devised by Nationwide Mutual Insurance and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The number, which does not account for medical costs or long-term care, is up from 44 percent in 2007. Middle-income Americans are being hit especially hard because their personal wealth was dependent on their home values rather than their stock portfolios, said Paul Ballew, senior vice president of customer insights and analytics at Nationwide. “Once home prices came back down to normal levels, we wake up one day and realize we don’t have adequate savings,” Ballew explained. [Bloomberg]

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