Living Cost – Colorado

I recently wrote a post about Housing Costs in Denver.  In my research for that post I came across some interesting information about social security payments.  As it relates to living in Colorado they are falling short.  As I indicated in that post the living cost in Denver is increasing. And doesn’t appear to be slowing.  This has a large effect on younger families.  And it is affecting our grandparents.  As a licensed Colorado Architect this is very concerning.

Living Cost – The Problem

A recent study shows that Social Security payments only cover the average living cost in five Colorado counties. In 10 other counties Social Security payments are short on average by $4,000.  States such as California, Colorado and New Mexico were the most likely areas to stretch seniors. Especially if they were only relying on social security. Michigan, Kansas and Florida allow a balance of income and expenses.

Living Cost – The Counties

In Colorado, social security payments go the furthest in Phillips, Ouray, Custer, Summit and Mineral counties.  Unless you live in Colorado chances are you wouldn’t know these counties.  And even if you do, you’re probably not considering retiring there.  In the Denver Area, seniors fared the best in Douglas County.

The counties are small mountain towns. Or farming communities. With limited access to hospitals or shopping areas. Not attractive to retiring seniors. Or their families.

Living Cost – More Problems

The same study shows adult earners 56-61 are not saving. The median retirement savings is $5,000 in the US.

Social security was never intended to be the sole source of income. But many households are struggling to set money aside.

Living Cost – Solutions

I am not sure I have many.  At least not in Colorado. The trend in Colorado has housing costs rising. It is difficult enough for those of us earning a decent income.

As an architect, I say an opportunity.  Developing those counties could help for a time. But providing infrastructure there is expensive. And it could have a negative consequence. That development could drive up living costs.  Effectively making those counties too expensive.

What are your thoughts? Would affordable housing in certain counties help?

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