Why it’s hard for retirees to get by on Social Security benefits …

… because that was never the intent or purpose of Social Security.

If you are age 60 and have not taken steps to supplement social security income in retirement, you are likely to be among the statistics below.

  • New research shows that 50% of older adults who live alone and 23% of older couples do not have enough money to cover their basic financial needs.
  • Elderly households struggle more in some areas of the country versus others, depending on the cost of living for their particular area.
  • But there is no county in the U.S. where the average cost of living and the average Social Security benefit are equal, which makes it harder for retirees to break even.

Source: Why it’s hard to for retirees to get by on Social Security benefits

4 comments

    1. Less than SS is a relative term, but there are places in the use where living on SS is possible, but living is about all you will do.

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  1. Well, assuming that a household of two each has an average Social Security benefit (about $16,000)
    https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/social-security/articles/how-much-you-will-get-from-social-security
    those who want to enjoy retirement on Social Security alone, will likely have to work until their SSNRA (age 66 or more likely 67), and then seriously consider relocation to a lower cost location – a place like Mississippi. See:
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-retirement-income-is-just-16600-a-year-but-i-want-a-beach-town-where-the-sky-is-blue-and-the-water-warm-where-should-i-retire-2020-02-06

    Yes, if you are debt free, and you live in a low cost area, and you carefully shepherd your finances, you can probably “get by” in retirement on Social Security alone – assuming you spend your days at the library, volunteering with a religious, social or educational organization, and/or spending time in the parks and beaches, or perhaps the national parks (if you paid for a lifetime pass after reaching age 62 – no longer as cheap as it used to be).

    Fifty years ago, this form of retirement was the norm – where individuals worked until they were physically exhausted, often into their mid-60’s, where work was more physical, blue collar, where retirement was as mostly sedentary lifestyle, and where life expectancy was typically no more than the mid-70’s.

    I distinctly remember being in the Miami suburbs in May 1973, shopping in a grocery store where they used to have a “stamp” program (accumulate and redeem for groceries), and being solicited to give away those stamps by seniors as I left the store.

    So, it used to be, work all your life until you were physically incapable of continuing employment, retire to a sedentary lifestyle (to the front porch), perhaps move in with your kids (“kids” who were part of the greatest generation), and die soon thereafter.

    Obviously, those who have lived in poverty all of their lives, and those who fail to prepare, will not have the financial wherewithal to spend freely in retirement.

    All that said, however, when you poll individuals ages 85+, you might be surprised at the results.

    Click to access post-retirement-experiences-85.pdf

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