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Nearly Half Of Americans Die With Almost No Savings, Says Finance Survey

Close to half of all U.S. retirees die with no more than $10,000 in savings, b

Close to half of all U.S. retirees die with no more than $10,000 in savings, but that doesn't mean that all these individuals are experiencing a low standard of living in their golden years, according to a finance survey.

Low savings

The report, which was co-authored by various academics and released by the The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), stated that 46 percent of retirees finish their lifetimes with either $10,000 or less.

Varying standard of living

The findings of the report reveal that the standard of living enjoyed by people surviving on their accumulated savings varies widely, with some benefiting from affluence and a healthy lifestyle while others exist in poverty, according to MarketWatch.

James Poterba, who works as a professor of economics at MIT, serves as president of the NBER and was a co-author of the study, told the news source that even though these individuals are dying with this small amount in savings, it "doesn’t mean their standard of living is very low [-] they might have a relatively generous pension plan, most of them will have Social Security."

The academic added that the figures may reveal something about the financial stability of the households in the study, according to the news source. "They may not have much capacity to absorb a shock, such as an out-of-pocket medical expenditure. They don’t have very much in the way of liquid assets they can access."

Net worth

If the net worth of these older Americans is calculated, the financial health that these people have when they are close to death looks better, the media outlet reports. Data provided in the study reveals that when savings, pension benefits, home equity, Social Security and other benefits were added up, single people had assets averaging $142,000, compared to survivors of deceased spouses with average net worth of $253,000 and average savings of $692,000 for couples contained a deceased, surveyed retiree who was survived by a spouse.

However, it is impossible to draw generalized conclusions about the financial state of the elderly as "there is a lot of variation within the group," Poterba stated, according to the news source. "There is a clear group of households that have relatively low income and also have low financial assets. At the other end is a group that has financial assets that are more than sufficient to accommodate any shocks."