What Was The Fastest Growing Retiree Cost In 2015? Hint: Not Prescriptions!

What Was The Fastest Growing Retiree Cost In 2015? Hint: Not Prescriptions!

Older Americans are going without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2016 due to lower inflation last year, but lower inflation didn’t translate into lower household expenses for retirees in 2015. In fact, nearly 1,200 participants in TSCL’s 2016 Senior Survey indicate that monthly household expenses suffered some pretty steep increases. The majority, 72%, indicated that their monthly increases went up by more than $79 per month.

When asked, “Which of the following most closely represents the amount that your total monthly expenses increased during 2015, the following chart illustrates how survey participants answered.

How Much Did Your Household Expenses Go Up In 2015?

Amount Monthly Expenses Increased 2015
$0 - $39 6%
$39.01 - $79 22%
$79.01 - $119 39%
$119.01 + up 33%
Total 100%

Source:  TSCL 2016 Senior Survey results January – March 2016.

What spending category accounted for the single biggest cost jump in 2015?  Forty-four percent of survey participants said food, 37% said medical, and 15% said housing.

What are the fastest growing costs in retired household budgets so far in 2016?  Here’s a list of ten items with the biggest jumps in cost:

Fastest Growing Costs For Retiree Household Budgets Through March 2016

Budget items with biggest jump in prices Percentage of change
Medicare Part D plan premiums 13%
Apples 11%
Medicare Advantage plan premiums 8%
Butter 6.7%
Motor vehicle insurance 5.1%
Tomatoes 4.5%
Inpatient hospital services 4.3%
Veterinarian services 4.1%
Cable and satellite television and radio service 3.4%
Housing 3.2%
Budget item with single biggest drop
Heating fuel oil (-34.8%)

Source:  Consumer Price Index data through March 2015 through March 2016, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.