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Financial experts warn senior citizens to not rely solely on Social Security

Posted at 2:04 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 21:17:15-05

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Many people move to Florida to retire and relax. But more often, senior citizens are finding they don't have enough green to fully enjoy their golden years.

When Alice Wydra moved to Vero Beach, she felt she had enough to retire on.

"But nothing’s ever enough, you know that," Wydra said, chuckling.

Wydra is not relying solely on Social Security.

"In the past five or six years, my Social Security has gone up $200. That’s not a lot of money," said Wydra.

So to earn a little more, the 80-year-old sells fair tickets in the summer in Massachusetts.

"So I come back with Christmas money and all kinds of extra funds," said Wydra.

According to Yahoo Finance, the average annual Social Security benefit in Florida is just over $18,000, which financial experts said is not enough to get by here.

"What we’ve nicknamed a survival budget for a single person is just above $20,000 a year," said Baerbel O'Hare, who sits on the Corporate Fudiciary Board at United Against Poverty in Indian River County.

O'Hare said senior citizens need to remember any increases in Social Security are modest, only 2 to 3 percent.

"So you need to be cognizant of the fact that the income stream from Social Security isn’t a robust, growing income stream and cost of living usually rises at a faster pace," said O'Hare.

United Against Poverty just opened a brand new full service facility in Vero Beach, providing job training and a member grocery that offers deep discounts.

Right now, UP has provided more than 120 job opportunities for seniors, whether it's computer classes or other things where they can build a resume.

"We offer seven certifications to update their resumes in areas like customer service, cashiering, customer service, professionalism," said UP Executive Director Annabel Robertson.

Robertson added that once employed, the senior citizens are paired with a success coach in the hopes of moving them to financial self-sufficiency.

To learn more about United Against Poverty, click here.