You Can Live Well on Social Security Alone

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Friday, June 21, 2019

Traditionally, financial experts have said that retirees need about $1 million in savings to be comfortable. But in truth, most people approaching retirement simply don’t have anything close to that amount saved. According to the Government Accountability Office, the average retirement savings for Americans ages 55-64 is $104,000. And the Federal Reserve reports that 31% have no retirement savings or pension, leaving many seniors to get by largely on their income from Social Security.

If you or a loved one is facing retirement without a huge nest egg in place, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are a number of smart strategies and valuable resources available to help you live comfortably on a modest retirement income. In the article below, we’ll explore some of the best ones.

Delay collecting Social Security as long as possible. If you haven’t yet claimed your Social Security, the best thing you can do to increase your income is to wait to claim your benefits. The longer you delay taking Social Security up to age 70, the larger your monthly payout will be. If you have reached Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is either age 66 or 67, you can access 100% of your benefits. For each year after that, up to age 70, your benefits increase by 8%. That means you’ll enjoy a 32% larger monthly payout at age 70 than you would at age 66. But beware, if you tap those benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive them before you reach your full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 66 and you opt to collect at 62, you’ll lose approximately 25% of your monthly benefit amount for the rest of your life.

Consider downsizing your home. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that seniors aged 65 to 74 spend approximately one-third of their income on housing each year. Trading in your current home for something smaller can make a significant difference in your monthly spending. Aside from a lower mortgage, you will likely reap the benefits of reduced energy costs and maintenance. Be sure to fully evaluate the numbers before making a big move. Some areas of the country have a much higher cost of living for retirees than others. If the numbers don't work out well in your current town, consider moving to a less expensive locale.

Find out which benefits may be available to you. You may be surprised to learn that there are more than 2,500 benefit programs nationwide designed to help lower-income seniors with expenses related to housing, medication, healthcare, and taxes. For example, free hearing aids and dentures may be available to you. While the resources are there, sometimes you have to know where to look. Doing the legwork on your own can be daunting. The National Council on Aging has created a non-profit website, BenefitsCheckUp, to help in this effort. You can also locate food delivery services, food banks and more on their website.

Take advantage of free and low-cost community resources. Living on your social security income alone doesn’t mean that you have to forgo entertainment or cease to have a social life. County libraries offer no-cost access to computers and the internet, as well as free or low-cost rentals of books, DVDs and other media. You may be eligible for a free or discounted wireless or landline phone through the FCC’s Lifeline Program so that loved ones are always just a phone call away. If you seek entertainment, your local Department of Parks and Recreation likely offers a wide range of affordable activities, leisure programs, and special events from which to choose.

Have a contingency plan. There may come a time when you or your senior spouse requires assisted care. Nursing homes are not always the best solution, while assisted living communities are costly. Adult day care centers provide a cost-effective alternative for seniors in need of only part-time care outside the home. There, seniors can receive counseling, community support, and medication management assistance, while caregivers receive a much-needed respite. Nonprofit adult day care centers typically accept payment on a sliding scale, so the service could be free depending on your situation and needs. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for more information on adult day care centers and additional resources for seniors in need.

Continue working on some level. Many people choose to work during retirement, which can help provide a better lifestyle. Part-time work can be ideal for retired seniors who have extra time and flexibility in their schedules. Not all sources of income have to be labor intensive or take a lot of time, either. House sitting, dog walking, and seasonal retail work can provide extra income as well as fulfillment. If you’re undecided about which direction to take, visit RetirementJobs.com or browse AARP’s Job Search Resources for 50+.

Living on Social Security alone is a challenge, but there are ways to make it easier. If you have questions about retirement or your next stage in life, please feel free to contact us. Our caring team members are always pleased to be of assistance.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving  three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With three convenient locations serving both North and West Philadelphia, as well as Trenton and Drexel Hill, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

How to Choose Photos that Celebrate Your Loved One’s Life

When a loved one passes away, surviving friends and family members are left with precious memories. Photographs and other mementos take on special significance. Whether you are writing an obituar...

Seven Imaginative Ideas for Your Loved One’s Celebration of Life

Are you considering hosting a celebration of life for a departed loved one? Unlike a funeral or memorial service, these events focus on joyful remembrance rather than grief. You can hold a celebr...

FEMA Announces COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021 through a dedicated call center. Please see the call line information below: 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-758...

Upcoming Webinar: Managing Change & Grief - April 14

We hope you will join us! Recognizing that professional counseling can be an important part of the grieving and healing process, we have invited Leslie Holley, MA, LCPC, NCC, and certified counsel...

5 Reasons Why a Will Can Protect Your Family

When you wrote your will, you likely created it based on what your life was like at the time. But like many things, changes in life circumstances are inevitable. Therefore, it is always a good ide...

Retain Your Independence with these Helpful Senior Lifestyle Tips

Aging is different now than it was for previous generations. More people are living longer than at any other time in history. To support that longevity, there are a growing number of helpful reso...

Funeral Favors Offer a Unique Way to Honor Your Loved One’s Memory

Offering guests a small favor is a lovely way to keep memories alive after a funeral service or celebration of life. While these keepsakes are an optional part of funeral planning, they represent...

Sympathy Gifts: A Beautiful Way to Express Your Love and Support

A sympathy gift can be a heartwarming way to demonstrate your support for someone who is grieving. Whether you choose a gift that helps your friend through the bereavement process or one that hon...

Writing the Perfect Obituary isn’t Hard if You Follow These Pointers

Obituaries come in all types and sizes. They can be long or short, elaborate or basic, entertaining or straighforward. At one time, death notices contained only essential information: who passed ...

Celebrating Black History Month During COVID-19: Six Meaningful Ideas for You and Your Family

February marks the start of Black History Month, a federally-recognized celebration of the many contributions of African Americans. This year’s theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and...