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Editorial: Hubbard County ranks in top 10 for living on Social Security

Hubbard County is among the best places in Minnesota for living on Social Security, this according to a recent study by SmartAsset.com.

The study looked at cost of living, annual Social Security, Social Security taxed, and Social Security index. Hubbard County is in the top 10 in Minnesota ranked #8 behind Aitkin and ahead of Crow Wing and Martin counties.

According to data released by Smart Asset, the annual cost of living in Hubbard County is $17,568 with annual Social Security of $18,511. Cook County ranked #1 with a $17,687 cost of living and $20,599 annual Social Security.

Some of the biggest reasons Hubbard County is climbing the ranks for senior living include good quality of life here amongst the lakes and trees. There's quality health care here which continues to improve as more providers and specialists are offering important services in Park Rapids and across Hubbard County. That cuts down travel time for much needed care.

We've got an active arts community here with opportunities to attend outstanding theater productions and related arts activities. Hubbard County has a good social fabric, slower pace of life, many churches, community involvement and volunteer opportunities attractive to the growing senior population.

Selling a home in metro areas often equates to favorable purchasing opportunities in Hubbard County lakes area - more house for your buck, so to speak.

Simply put, it's a great place to settle with a low cost of living.

Planning where you'll spend your retirement can be difficult, especially for folks who will be relying heavily on Social Security as a main source of income, the study says. There are, however, places where Social Security goes further than others and in a new study, and that's where Hubbard County looks good.

In its third annual study, SmartAsset analyzed 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. SmartAsset analyzed where in the U.S. Social Security benefits will go the furthest.

They first looked at the average Social Security income for each county. Then calculated the taxes a typical retiree would pay on that income based on the state-specific Social Security tax rules. They subtracted the taxes from that average Social Security income to determine the net income from Social Security.

Next, they calculated how far that net income would go in every county to cover the basic necessities. They subtracted the county-level cost of typical living expenses from each county's net Social Security income. Finally, they indexed the results to 100, with 100 showing where Social Security would cover the most needs. Higher scores reflect a better environment for living primarily or exclusively off of Social Security benefits.

Hubbard County index was 72.56, just ahead of Crow Wing at 72.09. Top ranked Cook County was 83.08.

Who is eligible for Social Security benefits?

Anyone who pays into Social Security for at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) is eligible for retirement benefits based on their earnings record. You are eligible for your full benefits once you reach full retirement age (between 66 and 67, depending on when you were born), but if you wait until age 70 to claim your benefits you'll get a credit for doing so, with larger monthly benefits. If you claim after age 62 and before your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will dock your monthly benefits.

Many people whose health allows them to continue working in their 60s and beyond find that staying in the workforce keeps them young and gives them a sense of purpose. Working after claiming early benefits may affect the amount you receive from Social Security. The Social Security Administration wants to spread out your earnings so you don't outlive them.

And after you hit your full retirement age, you can work without any reduction in your benefits.

Hubbard County is destination for retirement and this latest study is good indication that trend will continue as the quality of life remains attractive.

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