MILWAUKEE — Anxiety over retirement and how to support oneself after calling it a career is impacting many Americans. A recent poll found that one in three adults has less than $5,000 in retirement savings.
The survey of 2,003 Americans aged 18 or older by Northwestern Mutual also showed that about one in five adults have nothing saved for their elder years at all. To get a representative sample, results were weighted to Census targets for education, age and gender, race and ethnicity, region, and household income.
Perhaps most alarmingly, 33 percent of Baby Boomers, the generation closest to retirement, have between zero and $25,000 saved.
Most Americans are worried about what the future holds: 78 percent of study participants said they feel “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about affording a comfortable retirement. Two-thirds of respondents said they fear outliving their retirement savings, while 46 percent said they have taken no steps to prepare in the event that actually happens.
“As financial implications of retirement become increasingly complex, inertia just isn’t an option,” says Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning for Northwestern Mutual, in a press release. “The good news is that it’s rarely too late to start. In fact, we often compare financial and physical fitness because the hardest part is taking the first step. However, once people commit to a strategy and start seeing positive results, they’re motivated to meet and even exceed their goals.”
Meanwhile, when it came to Social Security, three-quarters of respondents said they thought it was either “not at all likely” (24 percent) or “somewhat likely” (51 percent) that those benefits will be there for them when retire.
“Continuing to work later in life should be a personal choice not a mandatory requirement for survival,” continued Barsch. “Proactive financial planning can be the difference between a desired and a default retirement lifestyle.”
The research is part of Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning and Progress Study, an annual research project exploring Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward money.