5 reasons for older Americans to give thanks in 2017: AARP

The 2016 election season was indeed polarizing and it has done anything but cool off since the swearing in of President Donald Trump in January.

But on Thanksgiving Day we all need to come together at the dinner table and give thanks for all that we have. This Baby Boomer is forever thankful for my health and my family -- which grew by one last month with the addition of my third grandson.

According to Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president of Financial Resilience programming, older Americans have a lot to be thankful for in 2017. Here’s Weinstock’s top 5 reasons for Boomers to give thanks this year:

A Bigger Social Security COLA

In 2017 retirees and other Social Security beneficiaries received word that their cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security would increase by 2%, the biggest increase since 2012. Every single cent of Social Security benefits counts a great deal for most older Americans, but the adjustment of 2% next year may not cover the rising costs of prescription drugs, utilities, housing, and Medicare Part B premiums that many older Americans face.

No Age Tax

In legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, but did not pass the Senate, health insurance companies would have been allowed to charge Americans 50-64 an age tax of up to 5 times more than other Americans. We give thanks an age tax has not become law.

An Ability to Grow Retirement Savings

The stock market remained strong in 2017, and many older Americans looking to save saw their retirement savings grow. However, we know many Americans fear they won’t ever have enough to retire. One reason AARP joined the Ad Council this year to launch www.AceYourRetirement.org, a free place to look in to how you can start or continue saving for retirement at any age, since it’s never too late or too early to start planning. In addition, web tools that make planning easier are another boon for older Americans.

Working Can Bring Happiness

Older workers are taking increased advantage of alternative working arrangements and the opportunities for enhanced flexibility that new technologies offer. In 2015 Uber indicated that approximately 25 percent of their drivers were aged 50 or over, while approximately a quarter of Airbnb’s hosts were also aged 50 plus. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows an increase in 55-75 year-olds engaging in alternative work arrangements from 14.4 percent 10 years ago to nearly 24 percent in 2015. And the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey shows that 9 in 10 retirees who continue working do so to stay active and involved. Almost all retirees who worked for pay in retirement gave a positive reason for doing so, saying they continue to work because they want to stay active and involved (90 percent), they enjoy working (82 percent), or a job opportunity came along (47 percent).

A Total Eclipse of the Family    

This summer families and friends of all ages from all over America got to gather together and saw something spectacular that won’t happen again until 2024: a solar eclipse. Gathering with grandparents, parents and children, we enjoyed the unique experience in the sky!