Retirement Income: Is this enough for retirement?

by Haven
(Richmond, Virginia)

I am one year from full retirement age (66).

After I retire and for the rest of my life, I will receive a teacher's pension through a defined benefit plan and I will receive SS widow's benefits until I am 70 and can switch to my own SS benefit, which will be 32% higher at that time.

The combined amount is $50,000 a year. I have very little in savings, as I used most of it to care for my mother, who died last year and left no benefits whatsoever.

I live in a state where Social Security benefits are not taxed, and this state provides a tax exemption on $12,000 of income from ANY source for residents who are 65+ years old. Also, residents who are 65+ receive an additional $1930 age-based tax exemption.

After speaking with an advisor in the tax dept. of this state, I was told that I will not pay any taxes on my benefits because SS is not taxed in this state and my adjusted income (after exemptions) will fall below the tax level for the state.

Also, he thinks that I will not pay federal taxes on my SS benefit because my AGI will fall below $25,000 per year.

My question is this: will a net of $50,000 a year be enough for a single widow with no children and no grandchildren to live on comfortably?

I live in a leased townhouse and I have a car payment. Other than these expenses, along with utilities and groceries, I am debt free.

I've worked all my life and have been a widow for 20 years. The prospect of retiring and having no job has me on edge, although my more pragmatic mind tells me that I will be OK financially.

Any information you can offer will be appreciated.


Wendy Haven, Everyone has different lifestyles and spending habits. If you live a normal lifestyle, without debt, you are likely fine. Only a financial planner can really tell you all is well -- after they look at your income compared to your monthly expenses. They'd also warn you about future inflation.

Have you compared your net take-home pay working to your net after retirement? If it's about the same, and I bet it is darn close with the DB pension and full Social Security, then you have the same income before and after retirement.

Your income is lots more than many retirees I've worked with, so I personally think you have a decent income. There is no specific dollar amount that anyone needs. Some retirees couldn't do $50,000 a year. Many others would love to have $50,000 each year. It simply depends on the individual and their spending habits.

Just one thought here: You have no savings, which might be ok because you have the monthly income to support you, but no savings for emergencies.

You might want to try to save some after you retire to build up a small nest egg. Don't Forget -- you could easily live another twenty years...
(age 66 - 88). Quite possible, and maybe even longer!

p.s. Most financial planners would never say you are OK without savings, but my father did quite well without any (and his income was less than $1000/mo). There are always options...

Best Wishes! Enjoy your Retirement!!

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Blessed with good annuity incomes
by: Anonymous

Both wife and I are in retirement, and take home
7,800 a month .. w house note 1,400 but no car note.

Had house remodeled in retirement 4 yrs. ago and took out loan for 12,000. after all bills are paid, we live on 2,800 for food gas travel and entertainment.

All bills / credit loans will be paid off by the end of next year.

Thanks for your comments
by: Haven

Yes, as a matter of fact, my retirement income will be slightly above my take home salary from teaching, and I'm not going to make any changes in lifestyle, since it's already fairly simple and fulfills my needs.

My car will be paid off within a couple of years after I retire, so that will eliminate any major debt I presently have.

The car payment will become my savings nest egg, since I don't plan to spend it on anything other than standard maintenance.

As for other work-related expenses such as clothing, school supplies, etc., those will disappear as well.

I've also thought about substitute teaching a few days a month to supplement my retirement income, but after a lifetime of teaching, I'm ready to take some time for myself.

All in all, I think I'll be OK.

Thanks again for your response.

Wendy: Sounds like you've got a well thought out retirement plan! Kudos to you!

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