Joe Nocera’s column about how he realizes he can’t afford to retire has deservedly gotten a lot of blogospheric love. I don’t have much to add, other than to echo this comment from the article by economist Teresa Ghilarducci: ““The 401(k) [. . .] is a failed experiment. It is time to rethink it,” and also to point to to a disturbing new study by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), which shows that the poverty rate among the elderly is rapidly increasing. The author of the study notes that, “As people age, personal savings and pension account balances are depleted, and as people age, their medical expenditures tend to increase.” And also:

Compounding the problem, the odds of suffering a health condition – acute or otherwise – goes up 45-55 percent for those below the poverty line, he said.

The two recessions that have occurred over the last decade have also contributed to the problem. Also well worth noting is the fact that poverty rates for women are almost double that of men.

As Atrios pointed out, the Social Security benefits are too damn low. Clearly.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee