stack of Social Security cards collaged (Photo: Shutterstock)

The transition for boomers into retirement status has not been a smooth one — especially when it comes to their wealth and buying power. The buying power of Social Security benefits of those who retired before the year 2000 has eroded by 40%, according to Social Security policy analyst Mary Johnson, with the Senior Citizens League. The organization’s recent 2022 Social Security Loss of Buying Power Study report says that’s the largest drop in buying power since the study began in 2010.

High inflation this year alone led to an erosion of 10 percentage points, the report says. Among the10 typical expenditures for seniors that Johnson tracks, prices for home heating oil and gasoline have risen the most since March 2021 — 79% and 51% respectively.  But costs for food and for Medicare Part B premiums have also jumped. Johnson’s most recent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment estimate, which is based on consumer price data, pegs the 2023 COLA in the neighborhood of 8.6 percent.

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