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Living mostly on Social Security in retirement
Old 01-07-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Living mostly on Social Security in retirement

I don't plan to do this (which is why I invest), but I have heard more and more people discuss this. Perhaps you know (as I do) some people who have said they will never be able to retire.

Just curious if you know people who do this currently or plan to.

Every year Money Magazine or some other such magazine or entity comes up with a list of places where the average income is at or below the average SS payout for a couple in that year.

Here's one such link - Stretching your payout: 10 Places to Retire on Social Security Alone - US News & World Report

Caveat is that you need TWO of you, and one of the two of you could not have been a stay at home mom or equivalent for most of the time.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:02 PM   #2
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Wow! I am going to up my WR. No more worrying about running out of money, because I can always relocate to any of these places, if I fall short in later years. I am serious.

What is missing at these places? Anybody has any idea?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:16 PM   #3
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Wow! I am going to up my WR. No more worrying about running out of money, because I can always relocate to any of these places, if I fall short in later years. I am serious.

What is missing at these places? Anybody has any idea?
My guess is you could find other cities too that would be cheap to live in (and yet be able to live in a nice area within that city...I mean, here in Central Ohio, someone could buy a house for $6,000 in a bad area of Columbus, but I'm sure most of us don't want to live there). Stats about all US cities - real estate, relocation info, crime, house prices, cost of living, races, home value estimator, recent sales, income, photos, schools, maps, weather, neighborhoods, and more is a good place to look for median income.

Also, remember the caveat...need two income earners making the average SS withdrawal each. Would be nice to have even at least $1,000 a month coming in from investments.

When I do hear people say they can never retire though, I do think of places like which were mentioned in that link. If you REALLY want to make it happen, you can.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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If DW and I really go broke, fortunately State Colege PA is not that far from where we are. And being a college town I can amuse myself with watching the shenanigans of the college kids. Cheap entertainment.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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What is missing at these places? Anybody has any idea?
I don't think anything is missing, sounds like most any rural small town. Noticed quite a few college towns in the list, maybe the student population is bringing down the median wage.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:25 PM   #6
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Most of the places listed had a College. Wonder if they are counting the students when they figure their per capita income?

I have noticed that many of the "Great places to retire", lists usually include a University nearby. I fail to see the importance of that to retirees.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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If DW and I really go broke, fortunately State Colege PA is not that far from where we are. And being a college town I can amuse myself with watching the shenanigans of the college kids. Cheap entertainment.
Being an alumni of PSU, I can vouch for the shenanigans. I think it would be a great retirement spot, if you can handle the winter.

As for the other areas, I will say that my father lives up in Western NY, close to Syracuse (on the list) and due to some unfortunate circumstances is "retired" now on just SS alone. Not sure how he's doing it, seeing as he's completely terrible with money, but it is what it is.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #8
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Most of the places listed had a College. Wonder if they are counting the students when they figure their per capita income?

I have noticed that many of the "Great places to retire", lists usually include a University nearby. I fail to see the importance of that to retirees.
I doubt they're including students income. I can say for sure that State College PA is a cheap place to live, and has very cheap housing.

As for the importance of a college town... my inlaws retired to a college town in WV. There is very often a plethora of cheap/free entertainment offered by the university or surrounding area. Lots of lectures that residents can attend, and I think that most colleges/universities offer a drastically lower tuition rate to seniors, in case you want to brush up on Mandarin Chinese for fun.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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I doubt they're including students income. I can say for sure that State College PA is a cheap place to live, and has very cheap housing.

As for the importance of a college town... my inlaws retired to a college town in WV. There is very often a plethora of cheap/free entertainment offered by the university or surrounding area. Lots of lectures that residents can attend, and I think that most colleges/universities offer a drastically lower tuition rate to seniors, in case you want to brush up on Mandarin Chinese for fun.
If Morgantown, you can see a couch burning event quite often.....
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:40 PM   #10
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If Morgantown, you can see a couch burning event quite often.....
Haha, no. The much quieter Shepherdstown, WV. Liberal Arts schools are much less raucous than state universities
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:51 PM   #11
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I know a number of people who have rather a melodramatic relationship with money and will most likely always have to work - even when drawing social security.

For those of my friends who have not earned much, and either haven't saved or who are not in a solid relationship, I can see things getting a bit dodgy.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:51 PM   #12
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I would imagine the quality of life of these locations is enormously enhanced by the proximity to a college/university. I live near a few and they are a goldmine for all kinds of things to do on the cheap.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:00 PM   #13
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I don't think anything is missing, sounds like most any rural small town. Noticed quite a few college towns in the list, maybe the student population is bringing down the median wage.
This was my thought, too.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:02 PM   #14
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My mom is about $200 short per month living on just social security alone. She lives 2 miles from me. My SS will be about $400 / month higher than hers (assuming 65% payout based upon what SSA quotes). So I should be able to live on SS alone if it comes to that
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:06 PM   #15
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My 2nd home is in the boonies of AZ, at the edge of the Colorado Plateau, where most of the larger homes are owned by retirees or weekenders. The people who still work live in more modest homes. There are little business activities, and the workers earn their living by working for the Forest Service, or providing services to the retirees like home construction and auto repair. There's no movie theater, no real stores other than some souvenir shops, no grocery stores other than a couple of country stores. In short, there's little commerce, no agricultural, nor industrial activities. There are a handful of restaurants and cafes along a highway that cuts through the area, but that was it. The rest is a National Forest.

Quite a few of my neighbors up there are recluse. If one is not introverted, he would not last long there. Yet, the median income is higher than the places on the linked list, which seem more vibrant. I do not understand.

Note to self: Need to be sure to visit some of these places in my RV trips to understand Americana.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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My guess is you could find other cities too that would be cheap to live in (and yet be able to live in a nice area within that city...I mean, here in Central Ohio, someone could buy a house for $6,000 in a bad area of Columbus, but I'm sure most of us don't want to live there). Stats about all US cities - real estate, relocation info, crime, house prices, cost of living, races, home value estimator, recent sales, income, photos, schools, maps, weather, neighborhoods, and more is a good place to look for median income.

Also, remember the caveat...need two income earners making the average SS withdrawal each. Would be nice to have even at least $1,000 a month coming in from investments.

When I do hear people say they can never retire though, I do think of places like which were mentioned in that link. If you REALLY want to make it happen, you can.
Thanks that is one neat link.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:16 PM   #17
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My father, a widower is living almost exclusively on $1550/mo Social Security in Valparaiso Indiana, a college town - Valparaiso University. I believe what happens with a college town is an abundance of rental opportunities, my father lives on the north side in a one bedroom apartment with rent of $580 per month and $10 for basic cable and utilities of about $100 per month. There are busses that will take you around town because of the University for $1.00 a ride, which is not an option in most other small towns. Also because of the university there are many inexpensive cultural events to attend that usually have very low senior citizen prices.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:00 PM   #18
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Supposedly, for 25 to 30% of Americans, that is their reality in retirement.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #19
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5 Places to Retire on Social Security Alone - Yahoo! Finance

Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Gainesville, Omaha and Eau Claire.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #20
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SS will be easily be the largest source of income for my older sister. But I don't know if it's all she will have, hope not. My Dad has helped her out, and she will inherit half our parents estate. Fortunately she seems happy to lead a somewhat modest life.

She wants to move to Boulder CO when she retires at age 65-70.

There are folks here who spend very little, within the range of SS benefits, but they have (significant) other assets.
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