AARP says recession hitting retirees hard

June 5, 2009 at 11:36 AM

WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- The non-governmental organization AARP says more than 600,000 senior citizens in the United States are in foreclosure or behind in their mortgage payments.

USA Today said Friday the ongoing recession has forced some retirees to put off plans to sell their homes and relocate to retirement communities, while many other seniors are struggling to survive on their fixed incomes.

"It's terrible," certified credit counselor Dean Wegner said of the current situation. "I've got a lot of seniors who have just been nailed. They don't have retirement savings, and they've exhausted their equity. They're upside down (owing more on their mortgage than their homes are worth), they can't refinance and they're on a fixed income."

Center for Economic Policy and Research economist Dean Baker agreed those seniors who chose home purchases over saving for their retirement are facing difficult times amid the economic downturn.

"This whole group is going to be hugely dependent on Social Security, and people don't fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem," he told USA Today.

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