Retiring and relaxing is not something you can do if you don’t have money. Having an income to live on once you have stopped working would be impossible without any social security. It is there to help you but the fact of the matter is that according to the SSA in 2022 the estimated average monthly benefits for all retired workers will be $1,657.
The average shows that for many folks their social security benefits will not support them through retirement. Some get more than others depending on how much they contributed during their working years and at what age they start their retirement. The maximum social security that will be paid each month to a select number of beneficiaries is $4,124 a month or $49,497 for the entire year. However, most beneficiaries receive far less than the maximum figure. The average SSA benefit received by over 69 million Americans is $19,872.36. That just isn’t enough to live on these days. Social Security checks are meant to replace only around 40% of pre-retirement income and aren't sufficient by themselves.
Even if you live in a less expensive cost-of-living state like Arkansas, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wyoming, the amount you have to spend annually is more than $27,000. That’s if you are a single adult and you have no dependents or children. Living in a more expensive state like California or New York would put you far behind on your financial obligations.
Ways to live on Social Security alone:
If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do to minimize the impact on you and your lifestyle.
• Downsizing: If you own your property and have equity in it (or even better it is paid off) then consider selling and moving to a lower-cost property. Selling and using the money to buy a smaller place could net you a profit and leave you money to live on or invest.
• Move states: Moving to a state where the cost of living and property is cheaper will mean you have a better chance of surviving well and getting the best out of what you have on hand. Living in an expensive area will just drain your resources, while a different state could assist you in your search for value.
• Other Benefits: If things get to the point where you really don’t think you will be able to put food on the table or feel assistance would be beneficial, then see if you qualify for other programs. Supplemental Security Income can provide extra money and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can help cover your food costs.
Richard Eden, Senior Vice President at David Lerner Associates says, “If for some reason seniors can't stay in the workforce any longer or work part-time to supplement their income, they will need to try and make the best of the situation. Not having a nest egg to fall back on will lead to seniors who haven’t saved enough and have no other option but to live on their social security benefits alone.”
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