Americans today are more worried about their retirement finances than they were at the end of the Great Recession in 2009, according to a nationally representative survey of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.
About four-in-ten adults (38%) say they are “not too” or “not at all” confident that they will have enough income and assets for their retirement, up from 25% in a Pew Research survey conducted in late February and March of 2009.
Concerns about retirement financing are now more heavily concentrated among younger and middle-aged adults than among those closer to retirement age—a major shift. Retirement worries peak among adults in their late 30s.
The new Pew Research survey finds that among adults between the ages of 36 and 40, 53% say they are either “not too” or “not at all” confident that their income and assets will last through retirement. Only about a third (34%) of those ages 60 to 64 express similar concerns. In 2009, it was Baby Boomers between the ages of 51 and 55 who were the most concerned that their money would not last through their retirement years. Only 18% of those 36 to 40 years old were similarly worried.
The share of adults saying they are “not too” or “not at all” confident that they will have enough income and assets to last through their retirement years has grown from 25% in 2009 to 38% in the latest Pew Research poll. Surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization over a longer time period suggest that these concerns have grown steadily in the past decade.
According to Gallup, the percentage of adults who fear they will not have enough money to live “comfortably” in retirement has grown from 32% in 2002 to 66% last year.
There are no easy answers here. While the survey speaks about living in retirement, underlying all of this is the fear that if something catastrophic happens, your finances will be wiped out. And sadly, that could be the scenario.
While most of the emphasis in reform has been in hospital and physician healthcare, the fact is that most of the activity will take place outside these settings. Aging in place and home health will grow. Assisted living will as well.
But to really prepare for aging, do yourself a favor and maintain the best physical health you can. You will increase the probability of aging with quality tremendously. Yes we all need to save but that is easier said than done. And the financing options for long term care are simply not there. And keep in mind that all this worry in turn causes stress and in turn affects your health. So while it is important to be concerned and start taking the best action you can, don't dwell on it.