From the Financial Hotline


By: Financial Hotline
Spring 2022 (Vol. 40, No. 1)

Q: What is the maximum Social Security Benefit in 2022?

A: The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $3,345. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $2,364. If you retire at age 70 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $4,194. However, the average Social Security check in 2022 is $1657.

Q: What are affordable options for retirement that still offer a pleasant place to live?

A: Affordability pushes South Dakota to first place. It has low taxes and lower healthcare and housing costs. Florida is popular for its sunshine, abundance of senior focused communities and favorable tax rates. Georgia is a good choice for weather that’s not too hot and not too cold, affordable housing and low healthcare expenses. Tennessee is a favorite for the budget conscious with affordable housing in every major metro area and below average living costs. Green Valley, Arizona boasts a median home price 24 percent below the national average at $189,000 and lower than average cost of living. Alabama offers golf and beaches along with 13% below average cost of living. South Carolina give you southern charm with a 7% below average cost of living. Property and income taxes are favorable to seniors too. If you are looking for a middle ground, Ohio is centrally located and has 12% below average living costs.

Q: Is it difficult or expensive to retire abroad?

A: That depends on where you want to live. For example, the average income needed per month for a retired couple in the United States in 2022 is $3800 per month.

In comparison, the average income needed for a retired couple in a major city in Portugal is $2000 per month. If your budget isn’t US friendly, there are many affordable countries that offer a safe and exciting haven for American retirees with little difficulty acclimating. Go to Travel.State.Gov for more information on how to make the move!

Q: Can you recommend any help for saving on gasoline?

A: There are different apps you can download for free on your phone that will help you save money at the pump.

  • GasBuddy, Waze and GasGuru show you nearby stations in your area to help you locate the best price.

  • Get Upside promises to save you up to 25 cents per gallon but it isn’t automatic. You can check in at a participating station or upload a photo of your receipt.

  • Check with local stations such as BP, Shell, or Wawa. Many offer reward cards that give you a discount at the pump just for signing up.

  • Consider using a bank or credit card that offers rewards for gas purchases.

  • Check prices at your local warehouse club. Sam’s, Costco and BJ’s are just a few that offer as much as 45 cents less per gallon.

Q: Are expenses for my service animal tax deductible?

A: Service animals qualify as approved medical expenses and can be included in your itemized deductions on Schedule A on form 1040. As you gather up all the receipts for animal-related expenses, make sure to locate any documentation qualifying the pet as a service animal. Your pet or emotional support animal expenses are not deductible.