We found information on average retirement income from the social security administration, US Census data, as well as the findings from an informal survey on recommended retirement income.
There are also links to other pages of this site with additional retirement income information in case this topic takes you in other directions.
Sometimes its interesting to know what's typical or average, as a way to gauge our own position.
In this case, we might wonder if our expected retirement income is reasonable, generous or a tad short of where we want to be.
That said, everyone has different circumstances so there is no figure that works for everyone. It's just a way of looking at what most people are doing.
From 2011 data, income figures about Social Security:
Retired workers $1,174
Retired couples $1,907
Disabled workers $1,067
Disabled workers with spouse and child: $1,813
Widow or widowers $1,133
Young widows or widowers with two children $2,409
(For more info on Social Security, go here)
Last year, as I was pondering whether I am ready for early retirement, I took an informal survey of people I knew who had retired. My question was "How much does it take per year to have a comfortable retirement?"
One couple generously provided lots of information on their retirement budget. See this page for the details of this couple's retirement finances
and this page has a detailed analysis on providing retirement income with a portfolio balance less than $1 million.
When I tallied up the various responses accounting for their different perspectives, I came up with a figure of $40 - $60,000 per year for a typical married couple. That figure was based on several assumptions: no mortgage or rent, occasional vacation trips (1 or 2 per year), and moderate health care expenses.
Obviously, some people will need or want more or less than this.
I know people (couples) who get by on less than $30,000 per year, but this can be a struggle, particularly after age 75 when it is more difficult to work. When something unexpected comes up, it becomes difficult to cover everything without sacrificing something important such as food or medicines.
This amount would be more comfortable if there was a safety cushion of savings for unexpected and unplanned events such as car troubles, for example.
Health insurance availability/cost is a big factor to consider, too.
The US Census and other organizations collect information about all of us.
The organization Employee Benefit Research Institute has their website at ebri.org which offers a large variety of reports and surveys, such as this report on median incomes for people aged 55 and over. (Slightly different in math terms than average retirement income, but more meaningful)
According to this table, in 2009 people aged 55-64 had incomes between $25,000 and $44,000, columns 1 and 3.
Over 65, the range was $13,629 to $25,409 (females to males.)
Interpret this to mean that a large portion of the population continues to work until Social Security Retirement age, at which time the income levels decline.
The report doesn't show what type of income they were counting. For example, this doesn't show how much savings these people had access to.
There is a huge amount of information at the ebri.org website and many other reports like the one above, so if you are looking for more information than I am showing here, you may find it in one of their reports.
One concern came to mind as I reviewed the ebri.org website: the members of this organization are large employers.
I suspect these employers would use the information gathered to support changes to their benefit offerings.
In addition, they may commission studies to support a change in benefits.
It just makes good business sense to do so. Keep this in mind as you view their data.