Journal list

Study: Financially, OKC is a good place for seniors

Financial security is a critical issue for seniors. A new study ranks Oklahoma City among the top 10 places for seniors to be financially secure. (Photo by Mark Timberlake via Unsplash)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City metro area ranks among the top 10 places where older adults are most financially secure, according to a new study.

SmartAsset’s study analyzed data from the 100 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest populations ages 65 and older to determine where seniors are most — and least — financially secure.

Measures included the old-age poverty rate, the percentage of seniors with private retirement income, rates of senior homeownership, and the percentage of seniors who spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs. The data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 Five-Year American Community Survey.

Security is a critical issue – from immediate challenges from new waves of the pandemic to longer-term questions about the environment, geopolitics and inflation – for retirees and those saving for retirement, according to the Natixis index Global Retirement Index 2021.

Overall, 59% of Americans say they accept having to keep working longer, while 36% now believe they will never have enough money to retire, according to the latest index data.

Even more alarming, 4 in 10 Americans said their ability to be financially secure in retirement is “going to work a miracle.”

The smart asset report found that top-ranked and bottom-ranked metropolitan areas have similar average retirement income, but marked differences across other measures. On average, housing costs account for 21% of retirement income for the highest ranked cities and this figure is 10% higher in the lowest ranked cities.

Five of the 20 most financially secure places for seniors are metropolitan areas in Florida, where a high percentage of seniors own their own homes and have low housing costs relative to income.

Seniors in Northeastern metropolitan areas tend to be the least well off financially. The bottom 10 metro areas represent seven northeastern states, with the New York-Newark-Jersey metro area being the worst overall. It ranks last for the percentage of seniors who own their homes (63.4%) and who are burdened with housing costs (45.6%).

Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, Carolinas tops the list of most financially secure with a 6% senior poverty rate and a 90% homeownership rate for those 65 and older.

The Oklahoma City metro area ranks eighth among 100 places with 7.3% of seniors living below the poverty line, 80% owning their homes and 55% with private retirement income. It ranks fourth in the percentage of seniors who are burdened with the cost of housing at 23%.

Amid high inflation and a plummeting stock market, it’s important that older people can weather the storm, the report points out. SmartAsset offers these financial tips for stretching retirement income:

  • Adjust your budget to deal with rising costs. Inflation affects not only the cost of living, but also the purchasing power of your benefits like Social Security.
  • Develop a retirement account withdrawal plan.
  • Get help managing your retirement expenses. A financial adviser can help you withdraw your investments and get the most out of your nest egg.