Hey, it’s just another survey. You can find others indicating most retirees are doing quite well. Even in the pandemic many retirees saw their savings grow.
Who knows the real truth? I do know it’s not found in surveys where there is an incentive to not be accurate. But I also know many people are not prepared for retirement.
But if retirees are in an awful state, why? I found this article of interest. Take a look at how many of the reasons reflect life choices, actions not taken or short-sighted decisions on the road to retirement.
A recent survey conducted by Clever found that, on average, retirees have just $191,659 saved for retirement.
Most Retirees Believe They Will Outlive Their Savings
According to the survey, 51% of retirees believe they’ll outlive their savings entirely — which is not too surprising given how little many have saved for retirement.
“Even more grim, 65% of retirees reported that they’re not financially secure,” said Taelor Candiloro, research analyst at Clever Real Estate. “So not only are most retired Americans financially insecure, but they’re worried about reaching a point where they have to drastically adjust their standard of living.”
The Majority of Retirees Have No Retirement Savings
The majority of retirees (30%) reported having nothing in retirement savings and investments, while the next highest proportion of retirees (27%) had under $50,000. Only 18% of retirees report having $400,000 or more in savings and investments.
The high percentages of retirees with little to nothing saved may have to do with factors beyond their control.
“We’ve certainly seen multiple health, environmental and financial crises surface in the last few years — all of which have increased financial strain on Americans,” Candiloro said. “There are also a plethora of social and economic variables that impact how Americans are able to accumulate wealth during their working years. All of these things collectively impact our ability to save for retirement — or our ability to retire at all for that matter — and could contribute to the lack of savings retirees are reportedly experiencing.”
Another factor could be the lack of access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. Nearly one in three retirees (31%) said that their company didn’t offer 401(k) plans or pensions.
Source: Here’s How Much Retirees Actually Have in Savings (Hint: It’s Not Enough)
I cringe when I see or hear the term “lack of access to….” I guess it played well in the focus groups. You didn’t “fail to save” – you “lacked access”?
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Yes, as many as 15% of Americans who retire are likely to live in poverty – because that is the percentage of working age adults (18 — 64) who likely have lived in poverty during their working years. No one expects them to have much saved. Beyond that, there is no structural reason for poverty in retirement for most anyone in the Baby Boom or subsequent generations. Poverty in retirement is not the result of a lack of access to an employer-sponsored plan. Everyone who has not had access to an employer sponsored plan has, since 1975, had access to a perfectly acceptable, more than adequate, tax preferred, retirement savings plan – the Individual Retirement Account.
So, for perhaps 85% of the population (excluding those living in poverty and those who are disabled, etc.) this is, in large part, a prioritization issue.
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While there is some truth in what is being said in the summary, there is way too much belief in the survey percentages. Take for example the survey summary states “more than three-quarters (79%) of retired Americans rely on Social Security as a source of income”, but the question asked in the survey was “Which of the following are sources of income for you?” Every retiree that is receiving both SS and Medicare is paying their Part B premiums directly from their SS monthly benefits. Therefore, they are “relying” on SS as a source of income to pay their expenses. In fact I believe that Mr.Quinn has even stated that his pension and SS covers his expenses, thus Mr. Quinn is one of the 79% that “relies” on SS as a source of income. Political spin has clearly overflowed into everything in our lives today. Just remember before believing what you hear/read, that figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
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You have to see your future self living under a bridge if you don’t take action now. I didn’t start saving until I was 34. Poor educational, locational, career and spouse choices left me in a world of hurt. Divorce and recovery emotionally and financially was a long road to trod. I don’t know how I did it but paid child support for my son on $9.00 an hour and put 10% in my 401k plus a 3% company match. I suspect(know) God helped me after I threw myself on Him for mercy. I had to pick myself up and start from scratch, which meant working a part time job in addition to full time, going where the jobs were(I lived 17 different places and 4 states since high school and I was not in the military), living with a roommate from time to time to split housing costs(your number one expense); and eventually earning more as time went on. Show up every day, take on new challenges when your boss asks you to. Work all overtime when available. Not much time or money for vacation, but I did what I had to do and stayed single for 15 years between marriages. Don’t be the schlub just sleepwalking through your day. I remarried smartly the second time 15 years ago and that has enabled me to pull the plug on work 2 months ago at age 61.
Scary times now with the market tanking and inflation blowing up, but no debt as I just paid off my house. Not much solid ground to stand on when the world looks mighty perilous right now. My tax accountant says I should take Social Security asap. I was going to wait for FRA, but he got me thinking by saying the best years of retirement will be 62-79. If I took at 62, 78-79 would be the point where FRA and 62 dollars equalize. With the market heading south, minimizing my withdrawals looks smart. Dad passed away at 50 and his dad(my grandpa) was 82, but none of his 5 deceased children made it to 80. Something to think about.
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I put this survey in the same category as the daily whine about student debt forgiveness. If you didn’t have enough money to retire then why did you retire? Go back to work while you can. Although there may be a lot of truth for some of those people, much of it does come down to personal choices. I often think such studies are to promote an agenda for someone to make money without really helping.
Tomorrow’s survey will be how to determine if you can retire early using FIRE principles and never work again, except for writing articles, farming, living off the government, etc.
The survey lost me when it said “the majority of retirees (30%)…”
I always thought a majority was over 50% but math is different now. And how do people retire on nothing but still have credit card debt, mortgages and car payments. Who makes those payments ?Somebody is blowing smoke.
Anyway, the main idea is that a lot of people are not prepared for retirement and I get that. I just wish a real, honest to goodness look at people who are walking out the door today would explain how they propose to get by. Be it pensions, social security, selling a house in a high market and moving to a cheaper spot, working a part time hustle, living off government freebies, whatever.
Yes, it appears someone doesn’t know the difference between a majority and a plurality.
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