So for seniors with health problems, or who haven’t paid off their homes, or who are helping grown kids make ends meet, the Social Security checks alone would probably leave them in an even bigger deficit when it comes to paying the basics than that. $19,884 quantity suggests.
If this isn’t confirmation enough about the challenges you’ll face, a quick look at the federal poverty level — $19,320 for a single person in 2022 — shows just how big the struggle would be. It means retirees relying solely on Social Security would find their income around what the federal government deems necessary to cover basic necessities.
What to do if you only have to live on social security?
Unfortunately, some seniors don’t have a choice. They have to live on social security without additional savings because they can no longer stay on the labor market and have no nest.
If this happens to you, there are a few things you can try to make ends meet:
- Shrink your housing: If you are a homeowner, consider selling and moving to a cheaper property. If you can sell for a profit and buy a cheaper house, you can hopefully be mortgage-free — and potentially get some equity out of the house that you can invest.
- Find out if you qualify for additional benefits: If your income and resources are low enough, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income to provide additional money — or for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which can help cover food costs.
- Retreat to an area with a low cost of living: While MIT’s Living Wage Calculator suggests you’ll run into problems everywhere, some places are much more expensive than others. In the most expensive states, including California and New York, a living wage is over $38,000.
- Consider drastic ways to slash expenses: This could involve living with a roommate or trying to get by without a car.