Getting retirement right is a big deal. Getting it wrong is even worse. The data vary from survey to survey, but we know for a fact that far too many Americans have saved little (or nothing) and most of the rest of us probably haven’t saved enough. Fidelity Investments decided to tackle this problem with a short but in-depth survey based on retirement assumptions people make. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most Americans missed these eight key retirement questions — and some were way, way off.
Single, childless and 68, Steven Gold has begun to think about future mobility and independence. Although in good health, he can foresee a time when he won’t be a confident driver, if he can drive at all. While he hopes to continue to live in his suburban Detroit home, he wonders how he will be able to get to places like his doctor’s office and the supermarket if his driving becomes impaired. For Mr. Gold and other older adults, self-driving cars might be a solution.
The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number. A study published this month in Cell Metabolism, however, suggests that certain sorts of workouts may undo some of what the years can do to our mitochondria.
Even if you aren’t elderly, your body is home to agents of senility—frail and damaged cells that age us and promote disease. Now, researchers have developed a molecule that selectively destroys these so-called senescent cells. The compound makes old mice act and appear more youthful, providing hope that it may do the same for us.
In 2015, when researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton discovered that death rates had been rising dramatically since 1999 among middle-aged white Americans, they weren’t sure why people were dying younger, reversing decades of longer life expectancy. Now the husband-and-wife economists say they have a better understanding of what’s causing these “deaths of despair” by suicide, drugs and alcohol.
Detroit was once known as a city where a working-class family could afford to own a home. Now it’s a city of renters. Just 49 percent of Motor City households were homeowners in 2015, down from 55 percent in 2009 and the lowest percentage in more than 50 years. Detroit isn’t alone, of course: The rate of U.S. home ownership fell steadily for a decade as the foreclosure crisis turned millions of owners into renters and tight housing markets made it hard for renters to buy homes. Demographic shifts—millennials (finally) moving out of their parents basements, for instance, or a rising Hispanic population—further fed the renter pool.
Americans may be worrying a little too much about the size of their retirement nest eggs and not enough about how they will maintain their independence and close relationships later in life, according to a large survey from the San Diego-based West Health Institute.
Almost one-quarter of workers said they and their spouse combined have less than $1,000 saved for retirement, according to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Nearly half of everyone surveyed said they had less than $25,000. Sure, $25,000 can sound like a lot. But it’s a reasonable goal to have that much stashed away by the time you’re 30 years old. Someone in their early 30s earning $50,000 a year should have about $30,000 saved, according to one calculator. This it totally doable if that person has been saving 10% of their income annually, which is the rule-of-thumb suggested by many financial planners. But more than one-third of those surveyed said they’re saving less than that.
Michelle Agaston, 63, of Pittsburg, knows all too well how quickly things can change when an elderly parent develops Alzheimer’s disease.
“We started noticing little things,” Agaston says. Her mother was diagnosed at the age of 72, twelve years ago, which instantly put her family on the journey of learning about the disease and caregiving. Her mother passed away in October of 2016. Agaston was also a caregiver for her uncle, her mother’s brother, during the same time period she and her siblings were caring for her mother. Alzheimer’s seems to run in the family — her grandfather also died from the disease. Alzheimer’s continues to take a toll on more African-American families every day.
An ample body of research has shown that oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. As a result, antioxidant supplements have been proposed as preventive measures against dementia. A new trial, however, tests the effect of vitamin E and selenium on aging men and finds no evidence that they have therapeutic value.