Retirement Income Insufficient in 49 of 50 States

Overwhelmingly, Americans age 65 and older aren’t replacing enough of their pre-retirement income in their post-career days, with retirees in 49 out of 50 states having insufficient retirement income, an study finds. 

The general rule of thumb is that retirees will need at least 70% of their pre-retirement income once they stop working, but those in only one state, Nevada, are reaching this replacement income ratio. 

“It’s clear that, nearly everywhere in the country, older Americans still don’t have the kind of money coming in they need for a secure and comfortable retirement,” says Mike Sante, managing editor of, a Bankrate company. 

Others echoed these sentiments recently in letters to The Wall Street Journal, saying that the retirement situation isn’t as “rosy” as some may think. One reader cited data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which showed that the median income of U.S. retirees is less than $16,000, compared with that of the median American worker, at $31,000. used this same source in its “2014 Retirement Income Study” to compare how 65-plus individuals are faring against pre-retirement households led by those ages 45 to 64. 

In the vast majority of states, retired households earn just 50% to 60% of the income of those in the age group immediately below them. Nationally, these older Americans have incomes that average just 59% of those aged 45 to 64, far below the replacement level suggested by financial planners and other experts.

In 2011, the median income of people age 65 and up reached the 70% replacement income ratio in only two states: Nevada and Hawaii. But in 2013, the updated study finds that has fallen to one state, Nevada, as Hawaii has drifted just below the line at 69%.

Though the bad news indicates that the majority of older Americans are unprepared financially for retirement, the good news is that they have made progress in the last several years.

Nationally, the replacement income ratio for those 65 and older climbed to 59.6% in 2013, up from 57.4% in 2011. It has jumped nearly 10 percentage points since 2005. Additionally, replacement income is now above 60% in 28 states and the District of Columbia, up from just 19 states two years ago. In Florida and Arizona, the replacement income has moved within a few percentage points of the 70% benchmark. 

Despite some gains, there’s no question that a retirement crisis seems to be in full swing — at least in 49 states. 

“The bottom line is a 57% to 59% replacement rate is not good,” said Anthony Webb, a senior economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, in the study. 

To read the study, click here. For state-by-state results, click here

Written by Emily Study

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Articles

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please