Another new survey out last week shows that Americans are worried big time about when and whether they will be able to retire.
The Addison Group’s Third Annual Workplace Survey found that 51 percent of American workers surveyed are concerned that they will not be able to retire when they want.
Those concerns about retirement were strongest among women. Only 43 percent of women surveyed felt they would be financially able to retire. And by generation, the biggest concerns came from baby boomers and Gen X-ers. Millennials, meanwhile, were significantly more confident about their retirement prospects.
Fifty-five percent of boomers and 58 percent of Gen X-ers were not confident that they would be in a financial position to retire when they were ready. But 53 percent of older millennials and 61 percent of younger millennials felt confident that they would be able to do so.
Nearly half of the workers surveyed worried that they would have to retire at an age older than their parents. That included 55 percent of boomers and half of the Gen X-ers in the survey.
Only 35 percent of those in the survey thought they would retire at the same age of their parents, and 18 percent thought they would retire at a younger age than their parents.
According to Addison, human resource professionals can help manage those concerns with improved financial education and counseling in the workplace: financial planning workshops, online seminars and providing consultants to help employees better understand their retirement options.
Question of the week: We got such a huge response from last week’s question, we’ll ask it once more:
Some financial planners say expenses in retirement are only 80 percent of what they are when you are working. Others say your expenses don’t go down at all. What is you experience? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Retirement Expenses.”
Dennis in Phoenix wrote:
I retired early (56) from Motorola in the Phoenix area. I am now 71 and moved with my wife to LaJolla, Calif., four years ago.
To estimate the percent of income required to live in retirement, one must make significant decisions as to lifestyle. We spend essentially 100 percent of what we did prior to retirement. We could spend less, but not much less.
I contend that the biggest threat to a comfortable retirement rests less on your investment choices and more on your health.
Bonnie Sewell, a Certified Financial Planner in Leesburg, Va.:
I am aware of ‘financial planners’ who use those kinds of rules of thumbs, but I’ve always suspected they don’t do any significant financial planning with their clients, or they’d use a different metric. We use whatever the couple identifies as their intended spending plan in retirement. So, 1) You gotta know what you spend pre-retirement, 2) You delete/diminish expenses that go away (work lunches, work clothes, tolls, etc.), 3) You add expected new expenses (finally get to the gym class once a week, etc.), 4) Model taxes and out-of-pocket medical/dental and that’s what you’d to need in retirement income.
The thing that sends my clients off-plan is event spending: the ‘trip of a lifetime’ (except it becomes annual), the luxury convertible they’ve always wanted, the adult child they still feel like they need to help buy that first house, and the list goes on. So spending becomes more than monthly.
The last plan killer includes taxes and medical/dental, neither of which is usually modeled well by individuals prior to retirement.
Barbara McCarron of Mill Cree, Wash.:
I have been in retirement since September 2007. Based on the nine years I have been retired, I found it costs more, not less, to be retired. Your expenses for commuting, clothing, dry cleaning and other work-related expenses definitely decrease. However, unless you are willing to sit inside four walls every day and do nothing for the rest of your life, you will incur expenses for travel, perhaps classes, membership in gyms or your local senior center and church, more time to shop if that is a favorite pastime, and even on your home since things wear out and you get tired of looking at the same old furniture or carpets that you never had time to change.
You might decide to take up a hobby or two that takes money. As for me, I spent substantial money creating a sustainable garden that I and others could enjoy that would get me out in the yard most months of the year.
Even if you believe you can cut out substantial expenses once retired, Social Security and probably most retirement plans will not keep up with inflation. I recommend folks save, save, save, especially if they are not going to receive a pension along with Social Security and their IRA funds … the three-legged stool.
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