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Seniors in 48 states missing retirement income benchmark

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Retirees in 48 out of 50 states (and the District of Columbia) do not have a sufficient income in retirement.

It has long been said that retirees need 70 percent of the annual income they earned during their working years for retirement. — a website featuring tools and planning materials designed to help consumers improve their financial decisions — sought to find out how many retirees were hitting that benchmark.

Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 “American Community Survey” for each state, divided the median annual household income for those 65 and older by the median annual household income for those between 46-64.

They found that only Nevada (70.72 percent) and Hawaii (70.06 percent) hit the mark. Arizona (68.10 percent), New Mexico (66.89 percent) and Florida (66.86 percent) joined them in the top five.

Conversely, in the four lowest-ranking states, New Jersey (49.53 percent), Rhode Island (48.20 percent), North Dakota (48.17 percent) and Massachusetts (45.21 percent), retirees age 65 and up were not able to replace even 50 percent of their working income.

Retirees who rely on Social Security as their primary income — instead of retirement vehicles such as annuities — may be one reason for the states not hitting the benchmark. The average Social Security payment only came out to about $14,760 a year.

The average nationally for those 65 and older was 57 percent of their working years’ income.