BH could you live off your SS benefit?

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TheTimeLord
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BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by TheTimeLord »

Just curious how many BH feel they could live comfortably or somewhat comfortably on SS alone in retirement. Given both my wife and I have worked at good paying jobs our entire careers and that we live in a MCOL with a paid off home I think as long as our expectations were reasonable I can say we could live somewhere between somewhat comfortably and comfortably in retirement on just FRA SS. What about you?
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Mike Scott
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Mike Scott »

Most of the older people I know live on SS because that is what they have. It's an extension of the old fashioned concept of making life fit within the resources available. Some have more resources than others.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Jordan4FI »

I think it should be the goal to have SS as small as it may be, to be able to cover as much as possible of basic budget needs.. if one can over most or all of that, then the portfolios are just gravy and allow to live so much more with the safety net provided by SS...

Problem is most people have to do this without the portfolio in their back pocket.. which is not a good situation.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by TheTimeLord »

Mike Scott wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:40 am Most of the older people I know live on SS because that is what they have. It's an extension of the old fashioned concept of making life fit within the resources available. Some have more resources than others.
I am making the assumption many here will be getting max. benefit or near max. benefit which would mean as a couple their SS would exceed the country's median income level.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by TheTimeLord »

Jordan4FI wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:41 am I think it should be the goal to have SS as small as it may be, to be able to cover as much as possible of basic budget needs.. if one can over most or all of that, then the portfolios are just gravy and allow to live so much more with the safety net provided by SS...

Problem is most people have to do this without the portfolio in their back pocket.. which is not a good situation.
Only asking about BH, not the general populace.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (retirement spending).
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David Jay
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by David Jay »

Yes, while both spouses are alive. Our combined benefits match our basic living expenses if I file after age 68.

(Surviving spouse will have about a $15,000 shortfall after spouse passes, so survivor will need some portfolio to cover that shortfall).

[Edit] LCOL area, $3500 a year property taxes for a 2500 sq.ft. home on a 1.5 acre lot - Zillow says $310,000
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Lynette »

No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by smitcat »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:33 am Just curious how many BH feel they could live comfortably or somewhat comfortably on SS alone in retirement. Given both my wife and I have worked at good paying jobs our entire careers and that we live in a MCOL with a paid off home I think as long as our expectations were reasonable I can say we could live somewhere between somewhat comfortably and comfortably in retirement on just FRA SS. What about you?
Yes - if both of us are alive collecting SS that amount covers our 'basic' living expenses that are not too shabby.
But that level of income would not cover the other levels of 'spending' that we have planned for.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by quantAndHold »

Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
If SS was all you had, it wouldn’t be taxed.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by David Jay »

Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by quantAndHold »

No. Spouse is 17 years older than me, and I’m not collecting until 70. Odds are that we will only both collect at the same time for a short time, if at all. Our fixed expenses are about double what each of our individual SS payments is.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Dottie57 »

I could lve fairly comfortably on SS (as it is today). Cut it by 25% and I would be stretched pretty thin.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Tycoon »

I could not.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by MidFlorida1214 »

Not with Social Security alone. I was lucky enough to get the old three legged stool of pension, Social Security, and savings. My wife is drawing off a restricted application now, but will begin her own Social Security in 3 years. We cover all our basics and then some. The savings would be for large emergencies, large expenditures, and some trips overseas. If I pass first, my wife will receive a portion of my pension and the savings can supplement her income if needed. We have no debts,
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Mlm »

Yes, SS @ FRA will cover all of my day to day expenses with a little left over. My investments will be spent on my wants.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by HomerJ »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:33 am Just curious how many BH feel they could live comfortably or somewhat comfortably on SS alone in retirement. Given both my wife and I have worked at good paying jobs our entire careers and that we live in a MCOL with a paid off home I think as long as our expectations were reasonable I can say we could live somewhere between somewhat comfortably and comfortably in retirement on just FRA SS. What about you?
Health care is the big unknown, but we could easily live a happy life on just our two SS checks and a paid off house (when one of us died, it might get a bit tight).

Paid off house in a LCOL area is key. Food and utilities just don't cost that much.

One can be safe, warm, fed, and dry for fairly low amounts of money.

And in our case, we'd be living in a lake condo with maintenance provided, two pools, two swim docks, a real dock with a boat and a jetski, and we absolutely could live there for $30,000 - 40,000 a year (We wouldn't be able to afford to replace the boat or jetski if all we had was SS, so someday they would break down enough that we would lose them)

Still a great view, and plenty of walking trails. Winters would be tough :)
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by IPS&IPA »

My wife and I could easily live off both our SS income if we so choose.
We have always lived this way, below our means.
Our SS benefits are on the larger side of average.
The hard part would be if our SS was a much lower amount as many retires are getting or will be getting.
My assumption is that people getting bigger SS payments also have other sources of income and higher expenses.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by hirlaw »

It would be conceivable for us, but not very pleasant, after certain expenses:
  • Medical/dental
    Property taxes (very high in our state)
    Insurance premiums (auto/home/umbrella/flood/etc.)
    Budget for home maintenance/repairs
    Budget for auto maintenance/repairs
    Grocery
    Pet vet and food
    Utilities
    Cell phone/internet/cable
    Clothing
    Misc. (haircuts, newspapers, etc.)
We would need to drastically cut or eliminate:
Travel, eating out, gifts, tickets to sporting events/theater, replacement autos, gym membership/yoga classes, future Electronics Upgrades (cell Phones, IPads, computers, TV, etc.), charitable donations and some other expenses I am sure I am not thinking of off of the top of my head.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

If I took it at FRA and the wife took it at her FRA, once at the point where we were both collecting.....sure. I've come to thinking I'd wait till 70. At that point, my SS alone would only be $5k a year less than what we spend now, if we take educational expenses out of the equation. Add in what my wife would get and heck....it's off to the Porsche dealer. (yes, really)
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Ron »

David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.

My wife/me are fortunate to have SS income at around double the joint rate and believe me, we do pay FIT (however no state).

Even with that income, we certainly could not live on SS alone, for the life we chose to live in retirement.

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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by MikeWillRetire »

If I postpone it until age 70, and I move to a lower cost area, then we could live off SS. It would cover everything, except travel.
But I don't plan to work to age 70, and I plan to travel, so I need other sources of income.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by willthrill81 »

If we defer SS benefits to age 70, even with the 30% planned cut in benefits, we could meet all of our planned essential spending needs with SS benefits alone. As such, our portfolio will need to carry us from age 55 (planned retirement) to age 70 for all of our spending and discretionary only beyond that point.

My MiL has been living off of her SS benefit (~$1k monthly) for over a decade now. But she has no debt, owns her home outright, and has a small nest egg that she occasionally draws from for very inexpensive travel.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by smitcat »

Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.

My wife/me are fortunate to have SS income at around double the joint rate and believe me, we do pay FIT (however no state).

Even with that income, we certainly could not live on SS alone, for the life we chose to live in retirement.

- Ron
"No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint."
Try the quick calculator here....
https://www.fool.com/retirement/social- ... px#results

If you put in MFJ and $64,000 in SS with no other income the taxes are like $420.
Not significant really.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Dottie57 »

Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.

My wife/me are fortunate to have SS income at around double the joint rate and believe me, we do pay FIT (however no state).

Even with that income, we certainly could not live on SS alone, for the life we chose to live in retirement.

- Ron
Taxcaster (from TurboTax) says 40k of SS is free of tax with absolutely no other income. Add in divdends, interest or capital gains and that changes.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Dottie57 »

smitcat wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:27 am
Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.

My wife/me are fortunate to have SS income at around double the joint rate and believe me, we do pay FIT (however no state).

Even with that income, we certainly could not live on SS alone, for the life we chose to live in retirement.

- Ron
"No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint."
Try the quick calculator here....
https://www.fool.com/retirement/social- ... px#results

If you put in MFJ and $64,000 in SS with no other income the taxes are like $420.
Not significant really.
Nice explanatory web site. Thanks!
Last edited by Dottie57 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by TheTimeLord »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:24 am If we defer SS benefits to age 70, even with the 30% planned cut in benefits, we could meet all of our planned essential spending needs with SS benefits alone. As such, our portfolio will need to carry us from age 55 (planned retirement) to age 70 for all of our spending and discretionary only beyond that point.

My MiL has been living off of her SS benefit (~$1k monthly) for over a decade now. But she has no debt, owns her home outright, and has a small nest egg that she occasionally draws from for very inexpensive travel.
My MIL had somewhere around $24K-$28K/yr. income in retirement with a paid off house and car but lived better than most people taking an international trip and a cruise or two a year. There would have only been an issue if she needed large home repairs or wanted an expensive new car. I always marveled how she lived better than the majority of the country on that income. She did have a low, low 6 figure portfolio as a backstop which probably made it a little easier to spend.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by smitcat »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:34 am
willthrill81 wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:24 am If we defer SS benefits to age 70, even with the 30% planned cut in benefits, we could meet all of our planned essential spending needs with SS benefits alone. As such, our portfolio will need to carry us from age 55 (planned retirement) to age 70 for all of our spending and discretionary only beyond that point.

My MiL has been living off of her SS benefit (~$1k monthly) for over a decade now. But she has no debt, owns her home outright, and has a small nest egg that she occasionally draws from for very inexpensive travel.
My MIL had somewhere around $24K-$28K/yr. income in retirement with a paid off house and car but lived better than most people taking an international trip and a cruise or two a year. There would have only been an issue if she needed large home repairs or wanted an expensive new car. I always marveled how she lived better than the majority of the country on that income. She did have a low, low 6 figure portfolio as a backstop which probably made it a little easier to spend.
My father lived off of a bit less than $30K a year for about 8 years without problems with a paid off home and a paid car.
Of course that cherry picks the years that did not include major home repairs, car repairs/replace and extra health costs that did occur.
When you actually average it all out it comes to a lot more than the $30K per year.
YMMV
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by David Jay »

Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.
I am looking at form 915 - I do not believe that it is possible to exceed the standard deduction as either single or married if SS is the sole income (the thread topic). Can you come up with a set of numbers that results in tax due with SS as only income?
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Dottie57 »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:34 am
willthrill81 wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:24 am If we defer SS benefits to age 70, even with the 30% planned cut in benefits, we could meet all of our planned essential spending needs with SS benefits alone. As such, our portfolio will need to carry us from age 55 (planned retirement) to age 70 for all of our spending and discretionary only beyond that point.

My MiL has been living off of her SS benefit (~$1k monthly) for over a decade now. But she has no debt, owns her home outright, and has a small nest egg that she occasionally draws from for very inexpensive travel.
My MIL had somewhere around $24K-$28K/yr. income in retirement with a paid off house and car but lived better than most people taking an international trip and a cruise or two a year. There would have only been an issue if she needed large home repairs or wanted an expensive new car. I always marveled how she lived better than the majority of the country on that income. She did have a low, low 6 figure portfolio as a backstop which probably made it a little easier to spend.
Can you explain in which ways she lived better?
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by miamivice »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:33 am Just curious how many BH feel they could live comfortably or somewhat comfortably on SS alone in retirement. Given both my wife and I have worked at good paying jobs our entire careers and that we live in a MCOL with a paid off home I think as long as our expectations were reasonable I can say we could live somewhere between somewhat comfortably and comfortably in retirement on just FRA SS. What about you?
I fully expect, taxes aside, that the pensions my wife and I will have along with each of our SS would pay for the vast majority of our essential costs - medical care, food, maintenance on our homes, replacing cars every so often, etc, etc. I believe that our retirement money will pay for add-ons, like vacations, buying rental property, horses, hobbies, etc.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Ron »

David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:43 am
Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.
I am looking at form 915 - I do not believe that it is possible to exceed the standard deduction as either single or married if SS is the sole income (the thread topic). Can you come up with a set of numbers that results in tax due with SS as only income?
Sure, use our actual joint SS income of just over $72k last year and disregard our other income; what do you get?

- Ron
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by delamer »

No, we couldn’t live comfortably on SS alone.

But then again, we’ve structured our financial life over the course of 35 years so we wouldn’t need to.

We could manage a middle class life on SS alone (taking into account home equity), along as we are both alive and healthy. But if one of us died or needed institutional care, the survivor/healthy spouse would be in trouble financially.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

A person has to be fully-employed until SS FRA before this is possible. This is not possible for me. So, it is a non-starter.

KlangFool
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by stoptothink »

We're currently living off about what our projected SS would be (if we both simply maintained our current salaries for another 15yrs, which is extremely conservative) and that is paying extra on a 15yr mortgage, cash-flowing wife's tuition, and childcare. Due to our simple lifestyle, we'll either retire very early or our children will be very fortunate; either way, we likely have enough now in our mid-30s.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Watty »

It is important to remember that the average Social Security check is only around $1,400 a month but for people who post here and delay starting Social Security until they are older to get a larger check it might be more like to $3,000 a month for one person even if they did not have super high paying careers.

In a real world example my Mom outlived my Dad and by the time she was in her mid-70's she had some health problems so she had given up traveling and even doing things like going out to diner much. Her main expenses were food, utilititles, a medicare supplement, some prescriptions, and a housekeeper that came in one or two days a week. Since she had a paid off house there were many months when she did not even spend her entire Social Security check even though she was financially comfortable. She likely did use her other funds for things like property taxes and home repairs.

When people post about needing a large retirement budget I try to point out that there can be a lot of years with low expenses between the time people typically slow down(mid 70's ?) and when they need a nursing home.

With our paid off house we could cover our most basic expenses even on one check if I delay it until I am 70. That would be pretty frugal and things like a new roof or other large expenses would need to come out of savings.
HomerJ wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:11 am Health care is the big unknown,
For a good medicare supplement, part D drug charges, a Part B premium, and a few typical prescriptions $600 a month per person should cover those costs and there may be ways to reduce that with a Medicare Advantage plan if you are on a tight budget. If you have some expensive ongoing prescriptions it a few thousand dollars a year more would also be needed to get to catastrophic drug coverage.

Long term care is a separate concern.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by bengal22 »

If all you have is SSA then you have to live off it. Or work. So yes we could live off it. I do AARP taxes and many subsist on SSA alone. So not the retirement I worked for but yes we would have to make it work.
Last edited by bengal22 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by RadAudit »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:33 am Just curious how many BH feel they could live comfortably or somewhat comfortably on SS alone in retirement.
I never thought SS was designed so you could live comfortably on that amount alone. So, the answer for me is no.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by TheTimeLord »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:50 am OP,

A person has to be fully-employed until SS FRA before this is possible. This is not possible for me. So, it is a non-starter.

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That is not the point of the question. Not asking if people will, asking if they could.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Lynette »

I receive the maximum SS but I chose to have 25% withheld as I was not sure of the new tax brackets. After Medicare IRMAA and taxes,the net amount is reduced considerably.
Last edited by Lynette on Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:02 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by smitcat »

Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:47 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:43 am
Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.
I am looking at form 915 - I do not believe that it is possible to exceed the standard deduction as either single or married if SS is the sole income (the thread topic). Can you come up with a set of numbers that results in tax due with SS as only income?
Sure, use our actual joint SS income of just over $72k last year and disregard our other income; what do you get?

- Ron
"Sure, use our actual joint SS income of just over $72k last year and disregard our other income; what do you get?"
The quick calculator says $440 - is it correct?
https://www.fool.com/retirement/social- ... px#results
Colorado13
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Colorado13 »

No, I couldn't/don't plan to, as I plan to retire early so won't have 40 years of SS earnings. My parents live off of SS and I'm not trying to emulate their situation. Their lifestyle is my inspiration to invest in my 401K.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We certainly could not live on our SS benefits with our existing lifestyle. Nor would I want to do so!

I suppose if we sold our home, and maybe moved into an old mobile home in a seedy trailer park, and didn't run our AC during the summer, ate rice and beans and an occasional chicken leg.... nope, still couldn't do it.

Broken Man 1999
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Olemiss540
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Olemiss540 »

Hopefully my SS benefit is much too small due to a very early retirement. :beer
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Dasnyc
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Dasnyc »

No, definitely not. I live in a VHCOL area and need Social Security, pension and my IRA to live a fairly modest life style. Between the deductions for Medicare with IRMAA, medical supplement coverage, and taxes the money goes quickly before I even see it.
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David Jay
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by David Jay »

Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:47 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:43 am
Ron wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:18 am
David Jay wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:01 am
Lynette wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:56 am No, as the IRS taxes me on heavily on it and SS takes Medicare premiums and IRMAA out as well.
No IRMAA penalty or Federal taxes if you only received SS benefits. You can even withdraw $12,000 from tax-deferred accounts (single) and pay no federal tax.
No, SS is taxable if you exceed the limits of $25K/single or $32K/joint.
I am looking at form 915 - I do not believe that it is possible to exceed the standard deduction as either single or married if SS is the sole income (the thread topic). Can you come up with a set of numbers that results in tax due with SS as only income?
Sure, use our actual joint SS income of just over $72k last year and disregard our other income; what do you get?

- Ron
Line 1 - 72,000
Line 6 - 50% of 72,000 (SS benefit) is 36,000
Lines 8-10 - 36,000 - 32,000 (joint) = 4,000 (is taxable)
Line 14 - 2000 (50% is tax rate on line 10 amount)

So 2000 is taxable. Standard deduction is 24,000 so you still would have $22,000 of taxable income before you pay any taxes.
Last edited by David Jay on Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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G12
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by G12 »

Retired at 47, SS will be minuscule. Wife will be retired @ 55, maybe $40k combined SS, might be good for floor level spending. Hopefully that will be about 25% of "retirement" income.
Starfish
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Starfish »

I intend to have a very small SS benefit (1500$/month, double with my wife). We could live decently in a cheap country.
Rus In Urbe
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Rus In Urbe »

Yes, we could live off combined SS, if . . .
----we cut travel
----we cut restaurants and organic farmer's market
----we cut spending on our garden
----we didn't contribute to charities

So, the answer is NO. :happy We're enjoying all this just too much!
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Ron
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Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

Post by Ron »

smitcat wrote: Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:14 pm<snip...>"Sure, use our actual joint SS income of just over $72k last year and disregard our other income; what do you get?"

The quick calculator says $440 - is it correct?

https://www.fool.com/retirement/social- ... px#results
Actually, I just ran the same income through my 2018 TT and the results were $70K non-taxable and $2k taxable, which results in $0 tax due.

Son of a gun; learn something new every day.

Our joint SS is subject to an FIT on ~$61,200 (85%) at our overall rate (based upon our total income). OTOH, 15%, or just over $10,00 is tax-free, regardless of rate (just another reason we delayed our respective SS claims until age 70).

My mistake :oops: ...

- Ron

PS: Regardless of the low tax rate if we only had SS income, we still could not get by in retirement, as we want to live - which basically was the OP's question. Even our current basic income needs would not be covered by our joint SS.
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