Retirement regrets: 44% say they did not save enough for their golden years

NEW YORK — Many Americans are currently retiring earlier than they expected to – but that doesn’t mean their finances are in great shape. A new poll finds nearly half of retirees don’t think they’ve saved enough money to make it through their golden years in comfort.

The recent survey of 2,000 retirees found that the average respondent initially expected to retire at 63.2 years-old, but instead did so at 61.5, beating their goal almost two years. One in three (32%) even claimed that they “would have retired even earlier if they’d had the chance.” 

However, 81 percent admitted to having difficulties while retiring, most commonly in accepting changes to their health as they age (51%) and letting go of their previous employment (22%). Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ClearMatch Medicare, the survey found that almost nine in 10 (87%) haven’t returned to the workforce now that they’ve left it. 

Although 78 percent reportedly found fulfillment in their career, only 25 percent said they actively missed working, with 47 percent admitting they didn’t miss it at all. Of those who did return to the workforce, 40 percent did so to occupy their time, while many did so for other reasons not outlined in the survey, often to help family members, friends or a former employer.

“My company begged me to do consulting for them,” recounts one respondent in an open-ended response, while another says that their former boss “called me back twice.”

401(k) plans information on smartphone and IRS website
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How much do you really need for retirement?

Only one in four (26%) returned to work because the cost of living had increased – but 44 percent of those polled admitted that the amount of money they saved up for retirement wasn’t enough, and 15 percent didn’t save for retirement at all. Overall, they believed they’d need to save an average of $440,000 for retirement, although men cited much higher ranges than women ($468,843.7 vs. $420,853.8).

“The true cost of healthcare is often severely underestimated,” emphasizes CEO of ClearMatch Medicare, Ben Pajak, in a statement. “It’s a common misconception to believe that Medicare will cover all your healthcare expenses. When planning for your retirement, healthcare should be prioritized as one of your top concerns.”

Although healthcare made up $228 of the average $3,020 a month that respondents pay out in expenses, a large chunk of it (39%) came from insurance costs rather than medication (23%) or doctor’s visits (15%).

When asked to share their thoughts on the most common myths about retirement, 57 percent cited the belief that Social Security covers retirement, while almost half (51%) brought up the idea that all healthcare costs are covered under Medicare.

“You need to consider factors like doctor visits, seeing specialists and the possibility of emergency visits or unexpected hospital stays,” says vice president of sales at ClearMatch Medicare, Jennifer Girdler.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 retired Americans was commissioned by ClearMatch Medicare between May 9 and May 15, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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  1. Looking it a the glass half full, this implies that 56% felt that they had saved enough for retirement, which is higher than I would have thought.

  2. The biggest reason for the problem is the government steals your savings through inflation.
    Do you have any idea what your costs will be in 20-30 years time? Good luck with guessing.
    When retirees lived on average 50-10 years after retirement it was not so bad. Retire at 65, die at 70, now you retire at 62 (to make way for the younger different skilled person), and live to 90.
    All governments at all times look for ways to steal your money. The easiest is just inflate the hell out of the currency.
    Do you really think that there is any way that the US can repay $35tr in todays dollars?
    Go the Zimbabwe, Weimar route and it is simple.

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