“It’s the backbone of our retirement system,” said Alicia Monell, director of the Center for Retirement Research. It is the base that everyone depends on or builds on. There is no doubt about that.”
For Tish Lyon, 71, a larger Social Security check will help her keep her rent, which was up 5 percent last year. (Mrs. Leon owns the mobile home, but not the land.) It would also eventually allow her to save enough money to make home improvements. Her current check of about $2,100 is about 80 percent of her income. She withdraws another $500 a month from her retirement savings, which she collected while working as an office manager at a nonprofit.
“The price of living is really high,” said Ms. Lyon, who lives in Lakeside, California, and has made some changes, such as limiting her driving to keep gas costs down. “When I’m driving, I try to do as much as possible when I’m outside.”
This year, retirees will also be able to keep more of the annual increase in their Social Security check. In the past year, Medicare beneficiaries have had to absorb a significant increase in their premiums, which are deducted from their paychecks. But this year, for the first time in more than a decade, premiums will drop. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B — which covers doctor visits and outpatient hospital services — will be $164.90 in 2023, or $5.20 less than it was this year, according to the Medicare and Medicaid Services Centers.
Ms. Hinojos, a retiree in California, has worked since she was fifteen. She was with her last employer, mostly in accounting-related jobs at a private college, for nearly four decades.
But it was difficult to allocate a large sum for retirement while raising her son as a single mother. She had saved some money in her 401(k), but she said two market crashes reduced her savings. She also withdrew the cash at another point in an attempt to save her foreclosed home – but lost it anyway.
“It ended up throwing good money after bad,” said Ms. Hinojos, who is trying to keep her purchases bill under $200 a month and got some savings from a relative, which she set aside for Medicare. “A lot of my 401(k) money has been dumped as a result.”
Social Security has been a stabilizing force. ‘With all my vagaries,’ said Mrs. Hinojos, ‘I don’t know what I would do without her.’
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”