Struggling With Retirement? So Are Senior Residents in 49 States, According to New Study

According to a recent analysis of the 2013 Census Bureau report, there are only two regions in the U.S. where retirees can expect to live comfortably; seniors living in Nevada and Washington D.C. are reportedly the only American retirees (over the age of 65) who have enough yearly income to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle.

In other words, American seniors in 49 states are struggling, on average, to cover the costs of retirement. And that fact isn’t surprising, considering that CNN Money reports that the average household income for Americans over 65 is $37,847 per year. That income is about 60% of what working Americans age 45-64 make per year, which is a problem, according to most financial advisers.

Time Money reporter Dan Kadlec notes that financial advisers recommend that a household’s income post-retirement should be at least 70% of the pre-retirement income, if the residents plan on maintaining the same lifestyle after retiring. According to the Census Bureau data, only seniors living in Nevada and Washington D.C. are able to meet this minimum income goal.

Retired Nevadans reportedly just made the grade here, scraping by with 70% average income compared to the working Nevadans age 45-64. Washington D.C. retirees fared slightly better, averaging 74% retirement income (although Kadlec reminds readers that this group of retirees is filled with retired federal employees who have “generous traditional pension plans,” unlike most other American seniors).

On the other end of the spectrum, seniors living in a handful of Northeastern states have the worst retirement income gaps compared to working residents — post-retirement incomes in these states just barely average 50% of working incomes. Despite such close proximity to Washington D.C. (and other major U.S. cities), these states have traditionally had higher costs of living, and now, retired residents are struggling to make ends meet.

Everything from rising prescription drug prices to home maintenance costs are being put under the microscope, and financial advisers are stating that this is no time for Americans to be stubborn — because it could end up costing quite a bit. In fact, a recent Employee Benefit Research study has shown that, for Americans 75 years and older, the costs of maintaining a house make up 43% of all living expenses. In other words, American retirees living in old houses that require constant maintenance are paying for their stubbornness, and are driving down their own quality of life.

“Independent seniors are encouraged to enjoy the full measure of lifestyle and freedom they are entitled to,” says Keith Blomquist, Owner of Singerly Manor.  “Many residents of our Singerly Manor assisted living community actually find that their freedom and quality of life increased after making the choice to move from independent home ownership to community living.”

Financial experts don’t appear to have any solid predictions yet regarding whether this trend will continue, but if nothing else, the struggles of retiring Baby Boomers will certainly serve as warnings for younger generations.

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