See How Retirees Survive on Just Social Security!

finance

By    The Anand Market  

1 in 7 

The rough share of Social Security recipients aged 65 and older who depend on their benefits for nearly all their income, according to an AARP analysis. 

Social Security was never intended to fully support retirees, said Anqi Chen, assistant director of savings research at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. 

Eric Miller, 70 

Location:  Fredericksburg, Va.  Monthly Social Security check: $1,400  

Eric Miller never wanted to leave his career as a professional chef. But after a heart condition landed him in the hospital, he had no choice but to hang up his knives. 

Miller said he was unprepared for sudden retirement, financially or otherwise, in part because he never planned to stop working. 

He rents the basement of his sister’s home for about $500 a month including electricity. His other main expenses include food, gas and insurance. His six heart medications are largely covered by social services. 

In retirement, he embraced budgeting for the first time, regularly tracking his spending in a spreadsheet. “I work on my budget religiously,” he said. 

Kathy Rote, 73 

Location:  Tucson, Ariz.   Monthly Social Security check: $1,400  

Afflicted with polio as an infant, Kathy Rote worked for years for a nonprofit in Berkeley, Calif., focused on helping disabled people, including seniors, live and work independently. 

In 1990, Rote started having chronic muscle pain and fatigue and was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome. She adjusted by using a motorized wheelchair. 

Around 1993, she moved to Tucson, Ariz., where she had attended college. She bought a home with the $60,000 her uncle left her, and has no debt. She shares the home with Archie, her 90-pound rescue dog. 

Due to her age and income, Rote receives discounts on her property taxes, utilities and wireless bills.</p> <p>She supplements the $200 she spends on food each month with a $157 benefit her Medicare Advantage plan provides, which she uses to pay for over-the-counter medication and groceries. 

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