Can you live on Social Security alone?
I would say no, but statistics say otherwise. Thirty-five percent of retirees receive 90% or more of their income from Social Security, but that does not consider assets or supplemental non-cash assistance. Nevertheless, for many, Social Security is essential even though it was never intended as primary retirement income. As FDR noted:
None of the sums of money paid out to individuals in assistance or in insurance will spell anything approaching abundance. But they will furnish that minimum necessity to keep a foothold…
While pensions were never available to the majority of Americans, they have largely disappeared in the private sector. Add to that the fact Americans are living longer, especially from age 65 forward, and that they are having children later in life thus meaning near retirement age children are still in college. In addition, many Americans are caregivers in later years.
Over the years since 1935 Congress has improved Social Security, but has consistently failed to adequately deal with the changes noted above. That is still true in 2019…and there is no excuse.
At the same time Americans also have responsibility because the great majority have failed to adjust their lifestyles to plan for the future. Can you live on Social Security … the way you would like to spend 20-30 years in retirement?
First, do you know your projected Social Security benefit? It’s easy to calculate, just go to ssa.gov and do a fast or detailed calculation.
Second, do you have a realistic idea of how much you will or want to spend each month in retirement? Will your mortgage be paid off? Do you want to spend more on a hobby or travel? Do you know the bite Medicare and Medigap coverage will take out of your income? Don’t know?
Get cracking, you shouldn’t even be thinking about retirement until you know your numbers.