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The Probability of Retiring (and Living) on Social Security Benefits Alone

The Motley Fool’s James Brumley, in a post on their website, sends a note of caution to those with little (or no) savings but still heading toward their retirement years. On the basic question of whether Social Security will be enough for a comfortable retirement, he says “Probably not.” And he’s basically correct, given the comparison of the average Social Security benefit ($1907/month) to the over $6,000/month spent by the average household on basics. Even if you’re a couple and you double the average benefit, you can still see the narrow margin.

Read Brumley’s post here. As he notes, “the Census Bureau reports that nearly half of all people living in the United States between the ages of 55 and 66 don’t have anything saved for retirement.” Given the fundamental design of Social Security, specifically the premise to replace about 40% of one’s pre-retirement income level, this means that it’s incumbent on retirees to make up the difference to improve their lifestyle in those later years. Brumley’s post offers conjecture on ways to do that.

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