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Jeff Opdyke: Is it still retirement if you have to work?

Jeff D. Opdyke, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Most Americans don't have enough money saved to retire on, and Social Security isn't sufficient all by itself. Where do you find yourself in relation to these figures?

--The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that households headed by those over 65 spend, on average, about $46,000 a year, or about $3,833 a month.

--The average couple earns combined Social Security benefits of $2,400 a month, or about $28,800 annually.

That's a monthly shortfall of, call it $1,450 before figuring in taxes, which pushes our needs up to about $1,650.

In theory, that shortfall is why you have a nest egg. But reality has a way of mucking up theories.

The average retirement nest egg for Americans in their 60s is $117,000, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Draw down $1,450 a month and your nest egg is an empty shell in less than seven years. (That doesn't include investment returns, but a conservative portfolio won't extend the depletion date very far.)


Worse, averages include highs and lows, and Federal Reserve data crunched by Statista and Forbes show 13% of Americans over 60 have no savings for retirement.

In both cases, earning additional income is the answer, aside from downgrading your lifestyle.

You can, of course, tap into the traditional job market -- typically low-skill, low-income service sector work. For many retirees, that's fine, so they can enjoy the daily routine as well as socializing with co-workers and customers.

Unlike generations past, however, today's retirees live in the internet age, which offers abundant opportunities to create income from side hustles that aren't dependent on age or location.


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