NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — When we retire, it can sometimes be a pain to balance social security payments with the rising costs of living. In some counties in ND, though, social payments not only serve to cover a majority of expenses, but can even extend into leftover funds. Social security goes further in some counties and states than it does in others — but here in North Dakota, where can these funds cover all the necessary payments?

In order to find out, financial service site SmartAsset compared the Social Security income in each county against its local cost of living. To do this, they first observed the average Social Security income in each county in North Dakota, and then calculating the taxes on a typical retiree on said income based on the state’s Social Security tax rules. Taxes from the average Social Security income were then subtracted to determine net income.

Following this, SmartAsset determined how far that net income would go to cover basic necessities (including housing, transportation, and food), and subtracted the county-level cost of typical living expenses from each county’s net Social Security income. These results were then indexed and assigned a score out of 100. The higher the score, the further social security goes in covering living expenses.

The ten counties where Social Security benefits go furthest in North Dakota are as follows. Take a look and see if your area is one where you can get the most out of your money.

RankCountyAverage Cost of LivingAnnual Social SecurityIndex Score
1Steele County$19,359$25,85099.98
2Foster County$18,817$22,32187.79
3Traill County$19,259$21,10781.01
4Lamoure County$18,697$20,22679.73
5Ransom County$19,367$20,85479.53
6Mercer County$19,343$20,48078.10
7Cass County$19,821$20,95478.06
8Sargent County$19,463$20,51277.74
9Renville County$19,322$19,77275.29
10Divide County$20,083$20,37774.63

While Social Security may be enough to cover a majority of needs in these ND counties, it’s important to remember that saving for retirement is still a necessity — especially when one lives in a county where the benefits can’t take care of the costs. Here are a few tips to help you save.

  • Keep track of your expenses. This will help you know how much income you’ll need to maintain the standard of living you enjoy. It’s recommended to save as much as possible — if not to live out retirement comfortably, then to handle medical care.
  • Use a Retirement Income Calculator. This can help you ensure you’re saving enough for retirement, and help you realize how much you need to save depending on your current age, age of retirement, and annual contributions to the retirement fund.
  • Open an Individual Retirement Account. An IRA offers the same tax benefits as typical accounts like a 401k, but can be maintained and contributed to regardless of where you work.
  • Meet with a Financial Advisor. An advisor can help you learn how much to deposit, where to save, and how to better plan for your retirement.

To view the full study regarding social security in North Dakota, as well as a social security calendar, visit this page on SmartAsset’s website.