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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: Despite supposed wealth of over-65s, most depend only on Social Security (102 comments)

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  •  However (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, wu ming, jlms qkw, Odysseus

    That was the overall median house, and the median senior.  Those two are not trivially comparable.  For example, some seniors have sold down to smaller houses once the children moved out.

    For starters, my intuitive reaction is that only a modest fraction of seniors have a mortgage, not counting reverse mortgages.

    This appears to be a situation where distributions and cluster analysis may be more useful than simple statistical properties.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 09:21:41 PM PST

    •  You'd probably be wrong. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      For starters, my intuitive reaction is that only a modest fraction of seniors have a mortgage, not counting reverse mortgages.
      Generically, the structure in America is that 20% of people own their houses outright, 50% have a mortgage of some kind, and 30% rent.

      It's mind boggling to me that anyone could reach retirement age and not own their home outright, but there we are.

      It can be surprisingly hard to pay ahead on a mortgage, and many people do not make that a priority.  Let's not even get into that paying down a mortgage is almost certainly not the best investment available to anyone with earned income, way down the list.  (401k or IRA contributions are almost certainly better in every way, and you can suck up about 35% or more of a median salary that way.  Very few people save 35% of their income.  I don't and never have.  Upper 20s at best.)

      Also be well aware that mortgage values are not evenly distributed.  The coasts are much higher priced than the Midwest.  My mother's 3BR/2BA in central IL cost 68k.  The median house in Indianapolis or several other cities would not even qualify for the Mortgage Interest Deduction.  $170k in any of a dozen states means taht you have your house paid off and likely 6 figures in savings.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:10:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree we need more complete data. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        However, your overall statistics leave plenty of room for most people of 65 to have paid off their mortgages.  (Some may have later added HELOC mortgages.)

        I concede I am 65 and paying off a ten-year mortgage that has some years to go.  However, I am a tenured faculty member, meaning I am in a profession where you really can keep on going, and I viewed the mortgage as a way to get money at (currently a shade above 3%) and invest it at (better than that).  I pay the mortgage out of current income, and have no expectation that this will change.

        However, the singular of anecdote is not data, and my case is very atypical.

        We can have change for the better.

        by phillies on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:32:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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