Although retirees received the highest COLA in 40 years in 2023 — 8.7% — nobody is getting rich. The reality is that the dollar amount of the COLAs increase is very modest. According to TSCL’s latest Retirement Survey, 45 percent of those participating report spending less than $2,000 on monthly expenses in 2023, as detailed below in the following table:
How Much Do Retirees Spend Per Month In 2023?
|Less than $1,000||8%|
|$1,001 - $1,999||37%|
|$2,000 - $3,999||37%|
|$4,000 - $5,999||11%|
|More than $5,999||4%|
Source: The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) Retirement Survey, September 7, 2023, 2,258 responses.
Social Security benefits are meager, replacing roughly 30% of a middle earner’s average wages, according to an Actuarial Note from the Social Security Office of Chief Actuary. Making matters worse, most older adults claim Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age and receive permanently reduced benefits. TSCL’s Retirement Survey findings illustrate:
Most Retirees Getting Reduced Social Security Benefits
|Age at retirement and effect on benefits.||Percent Claiming|
|Claimed when younger than full retirement age and benefits were permanently reduced.||59%|
|Claimed at full retirement age and receiving the full unreduced amount.||19%|
|Claimed when older than full retirement age and receiving a higher benefit due to the 8% per year delayed retirement credit up to age 70.||7%|
|Uncertain which statement applies.||11%|
|Not applicable. Haven’t started benefits yet.||4%|
Source: The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) Retirement Survey, September 7, 2023, 2,259 responses.