It is sad that we so often hear this question from fellow Baby Boomers, “Can I retire on my social security alone?” It’s like a taboo subject. Quite often, anyone uttering these words is blamed for their predicament, as if the Great Recession never happened or ignoring that America’s economy has left so many behind. There are legions of Boomers out there who are neither inheriting wealth nor scored big in the stock market, but who have been laid off, suffered health problems or went through divorces and now face the winter of their lives with little savings or assets. To these souls, we say “Yes, you can comfortably retire on Social Security alone. But it requires re-thinking your concept of retirement to make it work.”
Fox Business News reports that “Millions of Baby Boomers are signing up for Social Security, and on average, retired workers were awarded $1,406.58 per month in benefits in December 2016.” If you are a Boomer facing – or living – retirement on Social Security alone, consider implementing these strategies:
If Possible, Delay Retirement Until your Full retirement Age
If you (or the major spouse earner) can wait until the full retirement age (currently 66 or 67, depending on when you were born), then you will receive 25 percent more in monthly payments.That could amount to several hundred dollars each month. However, we understand that this is not an option for millions of Boomers who have lost their jobs.
Get your Arms Around a Viable Living Arrangement
Unless you have a mortgage-free home, consider moving to a cheaper location and/or else renting a place with other retirees then pooling your income to cover living expenses.
Another choice is to move overseas where living costs are much less. There are several countries south of the border where expatriates live comfortably on as little as $1,000 monthly.
Bolster your Income with a Part-Time Job or Home Business
Millions of Boomers have learned how to carve out retirements by taking on part-time jobs. Others supplement retirement income by starting home-based businesses, such as tutoring, house- or pet-sitting, personal shopping or dog-walking. In all cases, Boomers report still find time for relaxation, travel, and enjoying the grandkids.
Learn How to Cut Expenses without Sacrificing the Quality of Life
There are so many ways that Boomers can reduce expenses without sacrificing the quality of life. For example, using coupons to pay less for food, cutting the TV cable cord, using public transportation instead of owning a car and enjoying senior rates at restaurants. Many report they have mastered finding cheap transportation and bargain deals for vacations. Once Boomers start to focus on inexpensive alternatives, they realize that every dollar saved is like having a dollar increase in monthly income.
Insurance is a major expense for Baby Boomers, especially for those with health problems. If you are 65 or older, Medicare is the answer. For those under 65 or whose incomes are simply insufficient, the situation may require exploring such programs as the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid. Don’t be shy – There are plenty of advocates out there that can assist Boomers in finding an answer.
The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers
Our generation worked hard and played hard. For many, life threw a monkey wrench like the Great Recession, a laboring economy, divorce or health problems into our carefully constructed retirement plans. Get over it and learn how to make lemonade out of lemons!
There are a multitude of opportunities to cut expenses without sacrificing a comfortable retirement. A nice retirement south of the border is also an option. Millions of Boomer have also discovered resourceful ways to boost their retirement income while still having plenty of time for the things they enjoy. With a little research, you can be one of them.