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What is the average retirement income?

You and your spouse are going to divide your pension, and so you're trying to plan for the future. How much will be left for you, and how much do you need? What is the average for people in the United States?

One study looked at Census Bureau data and determined that for those who were 65 years old and older, the average retirement income came in at $31,742 annually.

That income is linked to numerous sources. For instance, a full 84 percent of those studied got Social Security payments. The average total from those payments every month was $1,298.98. For many people, that was over a third of all of their retirement income; those in the lowest income brackets made over 80 percent of their money just from Social Security.

That said, about 30 percent of those polled had pensions or personal retirement accounts that they used for income. As may be expected, those with a higher total income tended to have more from these sources. For instance, when looking at how many people got an average of $30,000 per year from their savings, over 50 percent of the wealthiest retirees reported those pension or retirement plan earnings.

As this shows, your pension plan is very important. If you want to fall into the average or even the high-end earners after retirement, you need to have far more than Social Security alone. Having that pension can also help you get out of the workforce. A full 22 percent of people had to work part-time even after retiring to make ends meet.

So, while dividing your pension, think very carefully about your legal rights, your options and your financial plans for the future. The agreement you reach could define that future.

Source: The Motley Fool, "The Average American Has This Much Retirement Income. How Do You Compare?," Jeremy Bowman, accessed Oct. 26, 2017

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