Boomers On My Mind: Happy Birthday

BOSTON (CBS) – Ten thousand Baby Boomers will turn 65 today. Another 10,000 will turn 65 tomorrow. According to the Pew Research Center, this is a trend that will continue each day for roughly the next 18 years.

These Boomers may be eligible for Medicare, to retire from their jobs and collect a full pension, but they still must wait until they turn 66 to collect their full Social Security benefit.

According to a government analysis taken from the new census data, one in six older Americans lives below the federal poverty line, which almost doubles the number of very poor seniors compared to the rest of the population.

A Harris poll released last year found that 25% of people ages 46 to 64 say they have no retirement savings. And those over age 65, 22% have no retirement savings.

Another survey found that 20% of Americans are relying on Social Security to be their main source of retirement income. The average Social Security benefit is about $1,300 a month. Hard to survive on an annual income of $15,000 ($14,748).

So if you are approaching 65 and have not saved very much, what are you supposed to do? Well you probably cannot retire unless you want to live with one of your kids.

If you have a job, keep it. And next year when you turn 66 and can collect your full Social Security benefit, consider one of two scenarios. Keep working and accrue a larger Social Security benefit or begin to collect while still working and save your Social Security benefit. That will give you some savings set aside for emergencies.

If you don’t have a job, consider finding one. I know this is supposed to be your retirement and the time in your life where you kick back and enjoy life, but without some savings these will not be the golden years but more like the golden arches for meals.

Work on your budget. List all of your expenses. That gives you the dollars it takes to keep you solvent.

What is your income going to be in retirement? Social Security and possibly a pension. What have you got in savings?  Experts say you should only use about 4% of savings annually if you want it to last.

So let’s say you have $100,000 saved. Which is a lot and if you take only the 4% that’s $4,000 the first year and less each year thereafter unless it earns more than 4%. Will the $4,000 be enough to supplement your income and help maintain your lifestyle? Or do you have to withdraw more or do you have to consider changing your lifestyle and living on less?

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