Overall, what are the sources of retirement income?
The recently released Social Security publication, Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2012, provides this information in charts and tables that are easy to understand. Charts focus on the receipt and shares of income from Social Security, pensions, assets, earnings, and public assistance, effectively illustrating the Social Security program’s pivotal role in the economic security of the aged.
From the Income Sources portion of report:
“Social Security is the most common source of income for units aged 65 or older. Nearly 9 out of 10 aged units receive Social Security benefits. Asset income is the next most common source of income, received by more than half of the aged. Two-fifths receive retirement benefits other than Social Security, and more than one-quarter have earnings. Public assistance and veterans’ benefits are each received by less than 5%. Noncash benefits, including SNAP benefits and housing and energy assistance, are received by almost 12%.”
“Social Security provides at least half of total income for a majority of beneficiary aged units. In 2012, 86.8% of married couples and 85.6% of nonmarried persons aged 65 or older received Social Security benefits. Social Security was the major source of income (providing at least 50% of total income) for 52.3% of aged beneficiary couples and 73.8% of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. It was 90% or more of income for 21.6% of aged beneficiary couples and 46.8% of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. Total income excludes withdrawals from savings and lump-sum payments from IRAs or 401(k)s; it also excludes in-kind support, such as SNAP benefits and housing and energy assistance.”
Note: the report defines a unit as “The unit of analysis here, with the exception of the measures of poverty and family income of persons, is the aged unit, which is a married couple living together or a person who does not live with a spouse.”
From the Aggregate Income portion of the report:
“Social Security provides the largest share of aggregate income for units aged 65 or older. Aggregate income for the aged population comes largely from four sources. Social Security accounts for 35.3%, earnings for 33.9%, pensions for 17.1%, and asset income for 10.5%. Only 3.0% comes from other sources.”
The Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2012 is at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/income_aged/2012/index.html.