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Study: This Colorado city has one of the highest retirement incomes in U.S.

(NewsNation) — Retirees in the Washington, D.C., area have the highest retirement income in the nation, according to a new study.

The analysis by SmartAsset found residents of Arlington, Virginia, had the highest retirement income, with an average of $90,140. Cambridge, Massachusetts ($79,563), and The Woodlands, Texas ($79,539), were second and third on the list.

Of the 345 large cities analyzed, three of the top eight were in the Washington, D.C., area. Most of that stems from higher pensions, IRAs and other retirement accounts rather than Social Security, the report noted.

Multiple California cities cracked the top ten, including Berkeley ($78,949), Carlsbad ($74,345) and Thousand Oaks ($73,634). Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and Naperville, Illinois, were also high on the list, with retirement incomes above $75,000.

The city totals were calculated using U.S. Census data and include all income from retirement accounts such as pension plans, IRAs and 401(k)s as well as Social Security income. “Retirees” refers to people aged 65 or older.

Retirement plans like 401(k)s and IRAs make up the bulk of most people’s retirement income, and a surging stock market has helped boost those balances recently.

Last quarter, the number of retirement account millionaires rose to a record 485,000, up 15% from the quarter prior and a 43% increase from a year ago, according to new data from Fidelity.

Individuals in that group had been in their 401(k) plans for an average of 26 years at an average contribution rate of 17%.

However, those accounts are not the norm and make up just 2% of the roughly 24 million defined contribution plan accounts at Fidelity, Bloomberg reported.

Instead, SmartAsset’s city analysis suggests most retirees live on much less than the typical American household.

Across all large cities, the average retirement income was $52,723, well below the median household income of $74,580. That gap underscores the financial anxiety many are feeling today.

“You look at your 401(k) and your savings, and to make ends meet, you start taking out $100 here and $50 there. Before you know it, it’s gone,” Shari Evans Buford, a Florida retiree, told NewsNation.

According to a recent AARP survey, one in five Americans over age 50 have no retirement savings, and nearly two-thirds are worried they won’t have enough money to support themselves.

A typical person now thinks they will need $1.46 million to retire comfortably, even though savers have only set aside $88,400 on average, a Northwestern Mutual survey found.

As a general rule of thumb, Fidelity suggests having ten times your preretirement income saved by age 67 in order to maintain your current lifestyle.

But with inflation eating away at Americans’ budgets, many retirees, upwards of 12%, have “unretired” this year.

Shinobu Hindert, a financial educator, said other would-be retirees are taking a “soft retirement,” where they cut back on hours but continue working for the benefits.

“They’re not completely exiting the workforce altogether, but they’re finding a part-time job that may provide extra health coverage,” Hindert said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.”

SmartAsset’s report suggests Social Security will be the primary source of income for many. In 14 of the cities studied, residents relied on Social Security for more than half of their retirement income, including those in Brownsville, Texas; South Bend, IN; and Spokane, WA.

In dollar terms, retirees in Ann Arbor, Michigan, ranked highest for Social Security income at $30,428, followed by Carmel, Indiana ($30,069), and Goodyear, Arizona ($29,157).

According to federal data, the average Social Security payment for retired workers was $1,915 per month in April. However, the size of that check varies depending on how long someone worked, what they made and when they started collecting.

This year, an average of almost 68 million people will receive a Social Security benefit each month, and by 2035, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is set to hit 75 million.

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