Retirement Confidence Reported Up

Betsy Jaffe, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Employee Benefit Institute, released a report on April 23, 2019. Confidence in Retirement Security Rebounds to Pre-Financial Crisis Levels stated “The 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds 82 percent of retirees are confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout retirement, up from 75 percent last year and comparable to highs measuared in 2005 and 2017. Furthermore, the percentage of workers who say they are very confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout retirement reached 23 percent, up from last year’s 17 percent and now reflecting levels measure more consistently in the late 1990s and early 2000s.”

I rejoice that confidence increased, and site these quotes for good news:

  1. “Retirees are also much more likely than last year to be confident in their ability to afford the lifestyle they are accustomed to (77%) and having enough money to last their entire life: including enough to cover overall expenses, health care expenses, and long-term expenses”
  2. “67% of working Americans “feel confident in their ability to retire comfortably, with 23 percent feeling very confident.”
  3. “Workers reporting they or their spouse have money in a defined contribution plan or IRA, or have benefits in a defined benefit plan, are nearly twice as likely to be at least somewhat confident about retirement (74% with a plan vs. 39% without a plan).

I still find disturbing statements in the report

They seem to concur with my findings in my book 7 Reasons You May Not Get to Retire and How to Fix Them. I list some quotes from the release:

  1. 41% of workers “are not confident about their ability to cover medical expenses and nearly half (48%) do not feel confident about having enough money for long-term care in retirement.”
  2. 61% of workers say “debt is a problem for them, compared with 26% of retirees”32% or workers with major debt problem are not at all confident about their prospects for a financially secure retirement, compared with 5% of workers without a debt problem.”
  3. Lisa Greenwald, executive vice president of Greenwald & Associates was quoted in the report as saying “Three quarters of workers believe work for pay will be a source of income in retirement and only a quarter of retirees actually receive income from work. It is risky for workers to assume they will be able to work into retirement when, for so many retirees, this has not been the case. I understand there’s a strong desire for income stability, but for many, continuing to receive a regular paycheck from work may not be a solution.”

As I read the report, I see confidence among retirees high, while they report that they aren’t getting the additional income they expected. While confidence increased, working Americans share more concerns for problems that may affect their retirement: health, debt, low pensions, and inadequate work income in retirement. We suggest watching this discrepancy over the next decade to see the how currently working Americans fare as they retire.

The study surveyed 2,000 Americans age 25 or older. Half of those surveyed (1,000) were still working, while the other half (1,000) were retired. You may see the entire report at ebri.org.

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