Our golden years may not be so golden due to one problem — we can’t afford them.
Most Americans (57 percent) say they “always make sure” to save for retirement, but (66 percent) feel they’re not on track to meet their retirement goals, says a new global study from the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies.
“A successful retirement, one in which we can fully realize our dreams, requires that we maintain good health and become financially secure,” says group president Catherine Collinson. “Unfortunately, many people are failing to prepare in ways that can increase their likelihood of success.”
Over half (57 percent) of American workers see themselves working in their retirement, and 31 percent will not only work but expect to change what they do for a living.
Live longer, work longer
Now that 1 in 5 people can expect to live past 90, retirement is becoming more stressful than leisurely for us. Worries about having enough for retirement savings is not only stressing us out, it’s scaring us too — we fear outliving our retirement savings more than death.
“As Americans are living longer, it’s no surprise that the number one retirement fear is that their savings will run out leaving them broke in their final years,” says Jim Poolman, executive director of the Indexed Annuities Leadership Council. “The uncertainty of knowing if your retirement funds are enough to cover your entire life can be crippling.”
A previous survey from the American Institute of CPAs says almost half (49 percent) of unretired Americans doubt they’ll have enough saved by retirement age.
Of those, (71 percent) worried about saving for healthcare costs, (67 percent) were concerned about affording everyday expenses and bills, and (62 percent) stressed about Social Security uncertainty.
“Retirement systems around the world, specifically social security-type benefit programs, are facing funding shortfalls and undergoing strain,” says Collinson. “As a result, people are becoming increasingly responsible for their long-term financial security – and that requires saving and planning.”
Making the distance
Americans can only stretch retirement savings for so long, and still live a fulfilling life.
Almost half of retirees over the age of 62 say they’re lonely and stretched thin living on pennies. Most of their seclusion is due to low income, says a study from AARP.
“Lonely older adults are significantly more likely to have an annual household income of less than $25,000 and assets less than $10,000, and are more likely overall to be in the lowest income group,” the study says.
It’s good that more Americans are planning to work longer, yet of course plenty wish they started saving sooner.
More working Americans say they plan to work five years longer than those who are already retired. Forty-four percent of those approaching retirement age or “pre-retirees” say they wish they’d began saving earlier.
“With individuals living longer and an unpredictable financial landscape possible in the years to come, it’s crucial that Americans prioritize planning for retirement today in order to be adequately prepared for the future,” says Michael Schweitzer, global head of sales and distribution at HSBC Bank. “People who start planning early can save more than they imagined and help put themselves on a secure footing for retirement.”
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