Survey: Over-55s have the most glue on the economy

There’s a lot going on in the economy—inflation continues to be a thing, the Federal Reserve is still raising rates, and don’t forget about the debate over how America will pay its bills.

The American consumer is looking at all this and feeling a little gloomy about business and labor market conditions. According to a reading Tuesday from the Conference Board, consumer confidence fell in May. If you dig into the data, the over-55s are especially feeling the pinch.

Patricia Brooks, 79, was on her way to a game of bingo when I caught up with her outside a senior center in Southeast Baltimore. She doesn’t play for big bucks.

“Just a couple of cents. That’s all we have! You know, nickels, pennies,” she laughed.

When Brooks was younger, she worked as a nanny and in retail — nothing that helped her retire. Now, living on Social Security alone makes her feel like the economy is bad.

„We’re trying to keep our homes as nice as we can, we’re trying to buy our groceries, but it’s hard,” she said. “You have other bills. You’ve had a hard time. and medicine. Lord, medicine is very high.

A few blocks over, 69-year-old Michael Engler is on his daily walk. He’s not worried about his financial future after selling his financial planning and investment firm.

„It’s a good business to be in, yes,” he said with a laugh. „Finally I’m tired.”

But Engler is not so optimistic about the overall economy. „I think the job market is strong, but interest rates are high. So it’s very difficult to buy a home. People are calling for a recession later this year.

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According to the Consumer Confidence Survey, people over 55 are more pessimistic than younger people. They have less time to earn or save money and more time to get into debt.

Ataman Ozildrim, the senior director of The Conference Board, who is almost 53, said he gets it.

“When I was in my 30s, I rarely looked at my retirement portfolio or savings. But being over 50, now I think, you know, my time frame is shorter and I need to focus a little more,” he said. „It focuses the mind.”

In some ways, how you feel about the economy in your 60s and 70s depends on how things went in previous decades.

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