The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson discusses the state of retirement income today, including a reference to my recent Wall Street Journal piece with Syl Schieber. We argued that common references to retirees’ well-being, including SSA’s Income of the Aged series, undercount retirement income because their datasource, the Current Population Survey, doesn’t count most withdrawals from IRAs or 401ks as income.
I thought this table, which Samuelson draws from CBO data, to be interesting:
Average Incomes of Older Americans, 2010
Poorest fifth: $19,900
Second fifth: $34,400
Middle fifth: $55,100
Fourth fifth: $82,100
There’s a lot more you need to know in order to judge the severity of any retirement crisis Americans are facing, but getting a better view of retirees’ incomes is a good start.