For many Americans, retirement is a mixed bag. On one hand, countless seniors enjoy the flexibility and freedom retirement offers. On the other hand, finances, or a glaring lack thereof, are a major concern for older Americans, especially since so many go into retirement ill-equipped to live off a fixed income. Here’s some key data that might open your eyes to the reality of our country’s retirement crisis.
1. One in four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, while one in 10 will live past age 95
Life expectancies today are increasing, and while that’s a good thing in theory, it poses a challenge from a savings perspective. Think about it: If you’ve been saving for a 20-year retirement and wind up living 10 years longer, you may have trouble paying the bills at a time in your life when you’re at your most mentally and physically vulnerable.
2. One out of every three Americans has no retirement savings whatsoever
That’s the latest out of a recent GoBankingRates survey, which also found that among those who have saved, 56% are sitting on less than $10,000. Given that most retirees can’t survive on Social Security alone, that paints a pretty bleak picture.
3. Over 40% of single seniors 65 and over get at least 90% of their income from Social Security
And frankly, that’s asking way too much. Social Security is only designed to replace about 40% of the typical worker’s pre-retirement income. Most people, however, need at least 70% of their previous earnings to pay the bills in retirement, which explains why more than 25 million Americans aged 60 and older live at or below the poverty level .
4. Only 51% of Americans are confident they’re saving enough
In its latest retirement survey, Transamerica found that only about half of workers feel they’re building a nest egg that will sustain them in retirement. Given the number of people who aren’t saving anything, this certainly isn’t shocking.
5. More than one-third of Americans expect to work in retirement
And it’s not just because they want the mental stimulation. A large number of Americans feel they’ll have no choice but to remain employed in some capacity during retirement to supplement their limited income. That said, a recent TD Ameritrade study found that one in 10 retirees winds up going back to work to combat boredom. It pays to keep your skills up-to-date later on in your career so that you have the option to continue working during your golden years.
6. Outliving their savings is what 60% of older Americans fear the most
In an Allianz study, 60% of baby boomers admitted that they’re more concerned with running out of money during retirement than actually dying. Seeing as how 30% of workers 55 and over have yet to start building a nest egg, it’s a valid fear.
7. Almost 60% of retirees don’t budget for leisure activities when planning for retirement
A Merrill Lynch study found that most Americans fail to account for the cost of keeping themselves entertained. Given that retirees typically have a ton of free time on their hands, factoring in leisure expenses is crucial when mapping out your retirement budget and goals.
8. The average healthy couple will spend $377,000 on healthcare in retirement
Frightening as it may seem, recent data suggests that we may be underestimating the true cost of healthcare in retirement. HealthView Services, a provider of healthcare cost-projection software, reported last year that when we account for the typical out-of-pocket costs not included in Medicare coverage, like dental and vision care, the average healthy 65-year-old couple today can expect to spend a whopping $377,000 on healthcare in retirement. And that’s just what healthy couples might pay. If you have a known medical issue going into retirement, you can, and should, expect that number to climb. Furthermore, that $377,000 doesn’t even take long-term care expenditures, like nursing home fees, into account.
9. Close to 50% of retired households spend more money, not less, in retirement
Contrary to what many of us have been led to believe, being retired doesn’t necessarily mean spending less. A report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 46% of seniors spend more money during their first two years of retirement than during their working years. Meanwhile, 33% of households uphold this spending pattern for six years into retirement.
10. Seniors are the fastest-growing group of bankruptcy filers in the country
Back in 1991, only 2.1% of bankruptcy filers were 65 or older. By 2007, that number had climbed to 7%. Though untapped retirement accounts are typically protected in bankruptcy, or at least up to a certain limit, filing for bankruptcy can wreak utter havoc on your credit. And without a job or income stream to convince lenders otherwise, you may have a hard time opening credit cards, securing transportation, or renting a home as a senior if you’re forced to go this route.
While the above data isn’t exactly chock-full of encouraging news, there is a silver lining to all of this. If you still have a number of working years ahead of you, you can take steps to ramp up your savings and build a pretty sizable nest egg. Currently, workers under 50 can contribute up to $5,500 a year to an IRA and $18,000 to a 401(k). If you’re 50 or older, these limits climb to $6,500 and $24,000, respectively.
Article published by USA Today April 28, 2017
Written by Maurie Backman