1. Archive

Florida's challenge: What happens as aging population depends solely on Social Security?

social-securitycard.jpgWake up and good morning. Some startling statistics follow with tough implications for Florida as Baby Boomers age...

A third of Florida's senior Social Security recipients survive on only their monthly government checks, according to an analysis by AARP, says a South Florida Sun-Sentinel story. Contrast that with the nation as a whole where only 25 percent of retirees 65 and older depend solely on Social Security, the senior advocacy group said. Advanced age has a lot to do with it, meaning Florida has plenty of aging people who simply outlive their other means of support.

As the Sun-Sentinel notes, Florida has nearly 800,000 residents 80 and older, second only to California's 1 million. But Florida's total population is half of California's. Florida alone has 3,492 centenarians receiving Social Security, nearly 7 percent of the nation's total. "Folks have spent down their assets," Jeff Johnson, AARP interim director in Florida, says in the article. Floridians 80 and older are about three times as likely to depend on Social Security exclusively than retirees 67 and younger, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by Hector Flores of the nonprofit National Council of Aging.

So what happens when Boomers -- already infamous for their poor or non-existent saving for retirement -- flood Florida in retirement and a hefty percentage of them rely solely on Social Security?

Maybe Florida's inadvertently solved its future problem. Says the Sun-Sentinel: "Many no longer consider Florida a haven for retirees. Kiplinger magazine doesn't include Florida in its latest report on 10 tax-friendly states for retirees. The magazine complained that sales and real estate taxes can be expensive in the Sunshine State." Kiplinger's top state for retirees? Wyoming. Be sure to enjoy those winters. It's followed by Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times