Friday, May 1, 2009

What does elder economic security mean in Minnesota?

It seems that, rather suddenly, retirement isn’t what it used to be.

The mental image most of us have about retirement probably resembles a Folger’s Coffee commercial. We think of happy, healthy, long-time married couples with white hair and loving embraces. We think of these couples living in the home in which their children were raised. We think of travel, gifts to the grandchildren, and time with life-long friends.

In Minnesota, the local average Social Security payment for men fell more than $3,800 short of economic security. A typical Minnesota renter who relied entirely on the local average Social Security for women fell nearly $8,000 short of economic security.

Economic security is not available to most elder Minnesotans. An elder couple with a mortgage can expect the following average expenses every month:
  • Housing: $1,085
  • Food: $430
  • Transportation: $414
  • Health Care: $600
  • Miscellaneous necessities: $368
An elder couple with a mortgage will need to meet $34,757 worth of their most basic needs every year. If both individuals receive the average Social Security payment and rely solely on that, they have an annual income of $26,435.

We do not want our grandparents and parents facing this kind of economic hardship. The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative is determined to change the dialogue from elder poverty to elder economic security.

Elder economic security in Minnesota means that every Minnesota elder has adequate shelter, food, health care, transportation, and income to cover basic needs. To participate in this effort, contact Marie Nelson at the Minnesota Women’s Consortium at or 651-228-0338. Remember that May is Older Americans Month.

Thanks to Wider Opportunities for Women for organizing “Blog About It: Elder Economic Security on May 1, 2009.” Please participate in Blog About It by commenting on this blog or the National Elder Economic Security Initiative blog, or posting on your blog about what elder economic security means in your state.

By Marie Nelson


  1. As we reflect on elder economic security today, it's important to remember that aging issues are truly intergenerational. We must recognize that a person's pathways to economic security in his or her working years will significantly impact financial well-being in late life. So, let’s work together to advance program and policy change to promote economic security over the lifespan and assure that today’s and future generations of older adults are able to meet their basic needs! And, way to go Minnesota! They're true trailblazers in advancing economic security across the generations!

  2. Great job Marie taking a wealth of info and giving us the highlights - which I am still struggling with for our first op ed here in MN. Minnesota is widely touted as a great place to grow old - hey you doubters, come see us now in the springtime! But we need to do lots more to make sure everyone gets to enjoy "golden years" here. I am especially worried about our large immigrant population, for whom Social Security is even less adequate. - Bonnie Watkins

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