The Typical Retiree’s Income Is Shockingly Low

Elderly man lost in thought
Photo by Nadino / Shutterstock.com

If you are a retiree who finds it tough to make ends meet, join the club.

Retiree households had an estimated median income of just $29,000 before taxes in 2019, according to the 20th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Retirees.

Even worse, just over 1 in 4 retiree households — 27% — reported an income of less than $25,000.

Altogether, 56% of retiree households brought in a pre-tax income of less than $50,000, while a lucky 13% earned at least $100,000.

The survey findings for 2019 pre-tax household income break down as follows:

  • Less than $25,000: Reported by 27% of survey respondents
  • $25,000 to less than $50,000: 29%
  • $50,000 to less than $75,000: 14%
  • $75,000 to less than $100,000: 9%
  • $100,000 to less than $150,000: 9%
  • $150,000 to less than $200,000: 2%
  • $200,000 or more: 2%

Among the survey respondents, 6% declined to answer the income question and 2% were unsure of their pre-tax household income.

The statistics paint a sobering picture of the reality of retirement for millions of people, says Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:

“Many retirees were forced into retirement before they were ready, which shortened their working years, extended their time in retirement, and left them more financially vulnerable. Retirees have been getting by, but they risk outliving their savings.”

These scanty incomes make it more challenging for retirees to pay off household debt.

Transamerica found that 46% of retiree households have nonmortgage debt, such as credit card, car loan, student loan or medical obligations. In addition, 23% of households have mortgage debt.

Planning your retirement

Saving early and often gives you the best chance of avoiding the same fate as millions of today’s retirees. But even if you are starting to save later in life, you can still build up a substantial nest egg. For more, check out “5 Ways to Save Up $500,000 in 15 Years.”

Another way to prepare for post-work life is to enroll in Money Talks News’ retirement course. This 14-week boot camp offers everything you need to plan the rest of your life so that you will have enough to make your retirement dreams a reality.

The course is intended for those who are 45 or older, but even younger folks can benefit from the wisdom to be gleaned from these lessons. The earlier you understand the lay of the land, the sooner you can start saving. And starting to save earlier makes everything so much easier down the road.

The right financial pro can also play a key role in helping secure your financial future. Stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center for help finding the right financial adviser.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Surprising Benefits of Staying Fit in Retirement
7 Surprising Benefits of Staying Fit in Retirement

Improving your overall physical health is just one reason to stay active after 50.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail
5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail

Here’s how to keep unwanted mail from clogging your mailbox and trash can.

These 13 States Tax Social Security Income
These 13 States Tax Social Security Income

Uncle Sam is not the only one looking for a piece of your retirement income. Is your state on this list?

9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50
9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50

These products will instantly improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.