How are seniors doing income wise? Not bad according to the experts?

In 2016, 49.5 million Americans were age 65 and older. Half of all older adults had less than $23,394 in yearly income from all sources.

In 2016, half of all older households received less than $39,823 in yearly income from all sources. The median household income for age 65 + in 2016 was $42,113.

Between 2015 and 2016, US median household income rose 3.2% from $57,230 to $59,039, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday.

So, looking at macro statistics retirees are living on about what the “experts” say. If retirement income should replace 70-80% of pre-retirement income, then based on these data the median retiree household income is at about 72% of working families.

So what’s the problem? Do you buy that?

I am at $35K and one sister is at $45K with another sister at $30K. With Zero debt and 12-year-old car, retirement can be managed very well. Source: retiree comment on this blog


  1. I am not sure that I understand your first data points.

    First you say: “In 2016, 49.5 million Americans were age 65 and older. Half of all older adults had less than $23,394 in yearly income from all sources.” OK, I believe that, half of all people age 65+ had a yearly income (including social security benefits) of less than $23,394. That’s believable because Table 5.J6 of the 2017 Social Security Supplement confirms that the average benefit was $1,360.13 and the median benefit was $1,347.00 ($16,164.00 per year). Not sure what all is included in income, but, I doubt it includes in kind government benefits – only wages, and investment earnings and taxable pension payments.

    Then you say, “In 2016, half of all older households received less than $39,823 in yearly income from all sources. The median household income for age 65 + in 2016 was $42,113. OK, how do you define “older”?

    Assuming older = age 65+, I assume the difference between the first and the second statements is individuals versus households? That’s my guess, anyway.

    But, the fact is that the US Census Bureau recently released a study titled “do Older Americans Have More Income Than We Think? (Adam Bee, Joshua Mitchell). That study notes the difference between the data in the Current Population Survey and compare it to data from an array of administrative income records. From the CPS, they get a median household income for Americans age 65+ of $33,800. But, from the income records, it scores out at $44,400 (30% higher).

    Why the difference? They state: “… we show that the discrepancy is mainly attributable to under-reporting of retirement income from defined benefit pensions and retirement account withdrawals.”

    So, when you hear people suggest that we need to raise the minimum benefit from Social Security or increase the progressive nature of the system (lower the taxes and/or raise the benefit even higher for those with lower lifetime covered earnings), they will often cite statistics that 33% of age 65+ get 90% of their income from Social Security, or that 61% of age 65+ get 50% or more of their income from Social Security, …

    take those data with a grain of salt. The system is already massively skewed to favor lower income individuals – it is the “social” in Social Security.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No wonder so many people are relocating to Texas, especially the Dallas area.

    Ironically our property taxes are going up… but for a good reason. So many people moving here has created a tight real estate market and home values have risen the past few years.

    When my brother retired from NASA, he moved from Houston to NW Arkansas [he was born there and went to university there.] He has tried to convince me to move to Arkansas too. But that state has weird taxes… like a personal property tax, on top of a state income tax and real estate property tax. I’ll stay here where I was born and government is more conservative and limited [however long that lasts.]

    Liked by 1 person

      1. WOW! You pay almost $16,000 a year in property taxes ?!

        Do you live in a liberal blue state ?

        Property taxes are also high here in Texas [because there is no state income tax] and that is my biggest expense. Last year my property tax on my 2200 sq ft house in a Dallas suburb was about $2700. [homeowners over age 65 get a break on property taxes.]

        My next biggest expense is home/auto insurance. My former employer pays almost all my health insurance.

        Having no mortgage or car payment is a big plus.

        That leaves me with about $900 a month for everything else… electricity, gas, cable, food, etc.

        I have a nice nest egg so I have money in reserve for the rare expensive emergency or to buy my next new car. But I hope to drive my 2004 Honda Civic for many more years to come… love my car 🙂

        After 11 years in retirement, I have comfortably lived on $16,000 or less while my original nest egg has greatly increased in value. I am blessed 🙂



        Liked by 1 person

      2. To add to what Mr Quinn has said about our state below, we have what is jokingly referred to as an Exit Tax. 17 out of 19 toll bridges / tunnel that leave New Jersey that go to either New York, Pennsylvania, or Delaware, make you pay the toll in the leaving or exiting the state direction. In fairness, it just the toll and only collected one way. When you sell your house and move out of state, the state withholds 2% of the sale to ensure newly “non-residents” pay their NJ income tax on the sale of the house. If you stay in NJ you do not have to that tax withheld. Soon NJ will be as bad as California.

        Liked by 1 person

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