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Retirement income in Delray Beach, Port St. Lucie goes far in rankings, according to survey

SmartAsset examined local mean retirement incomes in the 100 places in the nation with thighest proportion of seniors, then applied cost of living and tax rates.
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Posted at 1:04 PM, Jun 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-17 13:07:10-04

Retirement income goes the furthest in Delray Beach and Port St. Lucie compared with other cities in the state and are ranked in the top 30 nationally, according to a study by SmartAsset.

SmartAsset examined local mean retirement incomes in the 100 places in the nation with the highest proportion of seniors, and then applied cost of living and tax rates.

Port St. Lucie ranked 21st and Delray Beach 29th. Other top Florida cities were Palm Bay No. 1 in nation, Poinciana No. 2, Fort Meyers No. 24 and Fort Lauderdale No. 27. Elsewhere in the U.S., Evanston, Ill., was ranked third; followed by Casa Adobes, Ariz., in fourth; Sugar Land, Texas, in fifth; Springfield, Ill., in sixth; Scottsdale, Ariz., in seventh; Georgetown, Texas, in eighth; Bidmark, N.D., in ninth and Bethesda, Md., in 10th.

"Adults spend most of their lives preparing for retirement, but the hard work isn't entirely over once they reach their golden years," Smart Asset's Jaclyn DeJohn wrote. "Retirees have to watch their money extra carefully, given that their income is fixed through Social Security payments, pensions and conservative portfolio shifts. Retirement income can get taxed like regular income and local costs of living may further dent a fixed cash flow.

"So where retirees rake in the most money doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story – it’s how far those dollars stretch that make one comfortable throughout retirement."

The average annual retirement income across the U.S. is $29,600, ranging from $12,892 to $65,982.

Port St. Lucie's mean retirement income was $30,821 with a tax rate of 18.98%. The cost of living relative to the average was 97% and the value after tax and cost of living was $25,742.

In Delray Beach the mean retirement income was $38,488 with a tax rate of 19.12%. The cost of living relative to the average was 126% and the value after tax and cost of living was $24,806.

In the study, Palm Bay retirees have it best by a wide margin. The annual retirement income value therre is $44,724 – 15% more than second-place Poinciana.

In Maryland, Bethesda and Rockville have the highest retirement incomes nationally. Retirees in these District of Columbia suburbs average about $62,000 and $60,000 per year, respectively. But due to higher taxes and cost of living, they rank 10th and 13th when it comes to how far that fixed income stretches.  

Income for retirees in several Floridian areas doesn’t go too far. Mostly because of particularly low retirement incomes – from as low as $16,000 annually – retirees in Tamarac, Hialeah, Lauderhill, Pembroke Pines, Deerfield Beach and West Palm Beach have low valued retirement income after adjusting for taxes and cost of living. However, because of no state income taxes in Florida and low average incomes, retirees in these cities are taxed lower than most.

The senior population per capita in these Florida areas is double the national average.

In Port Charlotte, 33% of the population is aged 65 plus and more than 29% of residents in Palm Coast and Delray Beach. This is double the national average of 14.77%.

The largest senior populations by sheer volume are in Honolulu, Hawaii; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Henderson, Nev.