Retirees Feeling Pinch Of Soaring Inflation, Spike In Consumer Prices

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A couple shops at a grocery store
In the past year, inflation reached the highest rate in four decades. People on fixed incomes, like retirees, are especially feeling it.

Food, rent and gas prices are hitting Americans' wallets hard as the economy recovers from the pandemic and inflation pushes the cost of everything higher.   

But it's people on fixed incomes, like retirees, who are especially feeling the pinch.

Snehlata Malaviya retired when she turned 70.

"Once you get retirement, we know there is limited, limited income," she said.

She lives in low-income housing in New York.

"Before I spend it, I have to think 'the budget,'" Malaviya said.

A budget that's only growing tighter with inflation. 

In the past year, inflation reached the highest rate in four decades.

"I feel like the price has gone up so much compared to two years, three years before, like many fruits, vegetables, clothes," Malaviya said.

Cost increases are hitting nearly all aspects of life.  

Retired teacher Bill Ahlman says he has no choice but to cut back on spending.  

"They also raised our premium for Medicare, raised the premium of our prescription drug plans," he said. "The prices have just gone up so high. I can't afford them anymore."

President Joe Biden proposed a solution to fight inflation during the State of the Union address.

"More infrastructure and innovation in America," he said. "More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America."

This year, millions of retirees also received a 5.9% boost in their Social Security benefits, which is the biggest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years.

Stephanie Fullerton, president and co-founder of Fullerton Financial Planning, says that while the adjustment is welcome, it's not enough.

"It sounded like it was this big relief," she said. "The reality is in evaluating the last 10 years, there were a couple of years that there was no cost-of-living adjustment. So even with an uptick that we saw just recently, it's not even averaging what we should be averaging to maintain and keep up with inflation."

With the help of Senior Planet, an AARP program, Malaviya learned to be tech savvy, and now she goes online to compare prices before she steps inside a grocery store.  

"I focus [on] the sales item," Malaviya said.

Experts say now is the time to save and budget.