Sheet of US one hundred dollar bills, elevated view

By Kathryn Menue


SmartAssets, a New York financial technology company, conducted their second study to “determine the places in America where social security goes the furthest.”

“The study analyzes social security income, cost of living data, and taxes across all counties to determine where people are getting the most mileage out of social security,” Steve Sabato, of SmartAssets said.

Based on their research, SmartAssets found that Boone County cracked the top 10 of the best counties to live in where “social security goes the furthest” in the state of Illinois.

SmartAssets found the best areas to live in for social security benefits through a three step process.

First, they “looked at the average social security income” in each county.

Next, “they calculated the taxes a typical retiree would pay on that income based on the state-specific social security tax.” Then, SmartAssets “subtracted the taxes from [the] average social security income to determine the net income from social security [and] calculated how far that net income would go in every county to cover the basic necessities.”

In Illinois, there is no tax on social security, so social security in Illinois goes further.

Finally, SmartAssets compiled their findings in a list to “show where social security would cover the most needs.”

In this case, Boone County ranks ninth in the best counties to live in where social security lasts the longest.

The study found that Boone County’s cost of living is about $18,058 a year with the annual social security awarded being $19,201 a year with no taxes taken out. This means that out of 100 percent, Boone County’s social security ranks at 82.93 percent.

The “higher scores reflect a better environment for living primarily or exclusively off of social security benefits,” SmartAssets reported.

Ranking above Boone County were Bureau (#8), Macon (#7), Marshall (#6), Jasper (#5), Calhoun (#4), Tazewell (#3), Woodford (#2), and Putnam (#1) Counties in Illinois.

However, benefits all depend on when senior citizens claim social security.

Seniors get the minimum allowance if they begin claiming social security at the age of 62. Seniors can hold off until they are 66 or 70-years-old in order to receive more benefits.

According to SmartAssets, the number changes yearly. As of 2015, the monthly maximum seniors can receive is $2,663 for a yearly total of $31,956.

Benefit allowance all depends on how much an individual puts into the system.

“The Social Security Administration takes your highest-earning 35 years of covered wages and averages them, indexing for inflation. They give you a big fat ‘zero’ for each year you don’t have earnings, so people who worked for fewer than 35 years will see lower benefits,” SmartAccess reported. “The Social Security Administration also makes annual Cost of Living Adjustments, even as you collect benefits. That means the retirement income you collect from social security has built-in protection against inflation.”

These conditions apply toward anyone who pays into social security for at least 10 years.

With this being said, SmartAccess advises people set up retirement funds so they don’t live exclusively off of social security. If you are looking for information about setting up or finding out more about your retirement funds, you may want to visit somewhere like to learn more.

“Remember that social security benefits were never designed to make up a retiree’s entire income. Instead, they were meant to complement employer pensions and private savings,” SmartAccess said. “Of course, many people do find themselves in the position of having to live off their social security checks, but it’s best to do what you can to make sure that’s not you.”

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