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July 10, 2015

American Dream Gone: Think You’ll Retire at 65?

Think you’ll retire at 65? The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies’ 16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey has found otherwise.

It seems that many working Americans feel like they can’t retire at 65, or even at all, because of a lack of savings and public assistance.

The Transamerica survey is one of the largest and longest-running surveys on retirement. This year’s report highlights the expectations and reality for workers of all generations.

The survey found that most workers in their 60s have dropped the American dream of fully retiring at age 65. A full 82% expect to work or are working past 65, or don’t plan to retire at all!

Most sixty-somethings said that they expect to transition to their retirement at their current job. But, 42% think they’ll phase into that transition slowly by changing from full time to part time, for instance.

Of those who do plan to retire from their current position, 52% plan to work while in retirement because they feel they need the income or health insurance.

Despite workers in their 60s’ shifting vision of retirement, 47% still plan to rely on Social Security as their primary form of income when they do retire.

Everyone Else

Workers in their 50s are also adjusting their idea of retirement. Similar to sixty-somethings, 59% plan to work past the age of 65 or don’t plan to retire. Fifty-somethings may be less motivated to retire, too, as 42% expect their standard of living to decrease when they do.

Still, many of those in their 50s are keeping their eye on the prize. The survey found that 37% say that saving for retirement is their greatest financial priority and that 80% actually are saving. So far, the median amount of household retirement savings is estimated to be $117,000.

Forty-somethings were in their prime working years during the recession and are still hurting from it. Twenty-seven percent say they haven’t begun to recover yet or may never recover from the financial hardship they experienced, including paying off credit card and consumer debt, which 22% say is their No. 1 priority.

The desire to save is strong in this group, with 82% of those offered a retirement plan participating in it and 76% saving for retirement. But, 24% of workers in their 40s have already taken out a loan or early withdrawal from their retirement plan.

Overall, only 10% are confident that they’ll be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.

The survey found that workers in their 30s and 20s are thinking ahead and are already planning for their retirement, but could use a bit more education.

For workers in their 30s, 76% are saving for retirement, but 57% guessed their retirement savings needs and 68% say they don’t know as much as they should about retirement investing.

Workers in their 20s start saving for retirement around age 22, with 24% investing in low-risk, low-return investments. (These may be too conservative, though, given their long timeline.) And 37% of twenty-somethings say they know nothing about asset allocation principles.

Still, this youngest age group is expecting to be all on their own when they reach retirement age – 81% think Social Security won’t be there for them when they retire.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters. © EconMatters All Rights Reserved | Facebook | Twitter | Free Email | Kindle

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