(Memphis) Zombies are spreading across the Mid-South, but this isn’t some horror movie.
They’re called money zombies because they’re dead financially, even though physically they’re still alive.
It’s something people who work and volunteer at the Mid-South Food Bank and pantries across the area see every day.
That’s because people are outliving the money they set aside for retirement.
It’s a trend some refer to as money death.
“They’re having to make tough choices on food or medicine, paying their utility bills or medicine,” said President/CEO of the Mid-South Food Bank Estella Mayhue-Greer.
The average American now lives into their late 70s, and First Tennessee Bank Financial Advisers VP Karen Kruse says that’s about ten years longer than most people save money for because they didn’t expect to live so long or realize how much money it would take.
“Working longer, working in your current job longer, part-time work, and falling back on social security are all very much the norm that advisers are talking to their older clients about now,” said Kruse.
One deadly blow to a lot of people around retirement age was the economic collapse in 2008.
People looking at a plush retirement are now looking at the possibility of working longer or even moving in with their children.
“2008 and 2009 took a tremendous toll on portfolios. If you weren’t paying attention, you lost a lot of money and you didn’t do anything to recoup some portion of that,” said Kruse.
About 20 percent of the senior population in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi all face hunger problems because they don’t have the money to buy food. In Memphis, the average is slightly higher.
Kruse says by the time you are 50, you should have around a million dollars saved for retirement to be financially alive and well for the rest of your life.
If you are approaching or over that age and aren’t anywhere near a million in savings you should probably get help from a financial planner to decide what’s best for you to do.
So many seniors in the Mid-South need help that Meals on Wheels isn’t enough.
The Mid-South Food Bank started a new program where volunteers drop off a box of food to seniors once a week.
It’s starting small, but the food bank expects it to keep growing because the need for it is also growing.