Here’s a retirement reality check from a 2015 study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies…
Americans believe they need to save around $600,000 for their retirement. Given that those who reach retirement age can expect to live another 20 years, this seems reasonable.
But here’s the problem: almost no one saves that much money.
In the same 2015 study, it was reported that older workers (those at least 50 years old) have median retirement savings of just $135,000. That’s less than 25% of what they expected to need for their golden years!
Even if this $135,000 was saved by the age of 50, they would still need a combined savings and growth of $465,000 over the next 17 years to reach $600,000 by the time they could draw full Social Security benefits.
To reach this goal, these older workers would have to contribute $11,000 into their retirement accounts every year and earn 6% on their dollars.
To think that workers who managed $135,000 over nearly 30 years of employment could suddenly save and grow another $435,000 over 17 years is seemingly impossible to imagine. For most, it’s safe to say this goal will be out of reach.
As for retirees, we learned their median savings at the point of retirement was only $131,000… which is slightly less than the savings of the older workers.
There could be any number of factors leading to this drop in assets, such as financially supporting others, medical bills, etc. No matter the reason, the reality remains this: An overwhelming majority of older workers and retirees have nowhere near the financial resources they need to sustain their lifestyle through retirement.
These rather modest nest eggs could be the reason behind the rather disappointing retirement statistics…
Among current older workers (again, those at least 50 years old), only 16% claim they will retire before age 65, while only 17% plan to enter retirement at 65.
However, 60% of all current retirees reported leaving the workforce sooner than they had anticipated.
Here are the reasons respondents gave in a recent Transamerica survey (respondents were asked to check all that apply):
• 66% left because of something employment related – lost their job, organizational restructuring, unhappy or they took a buyout.
• 37% left for health or family reasons.
• 16% left because they were financially able to – they had saved enough.
That’s a small percentage leaving the workforce under positive terms… forcing these early retirees to make a significant lifestyle change… and make do the best they can. For many, this means relying on Social Security (at a reduced level) and other government benefits.
Many of us are not comfortable entering our golden years earlier than planned and having only Social Security to rely on. For many, saving for an adequate retirement may seem like a monumental burden… but if you take advantage of the lucrative opportunities to grow wealth as they surface, it becomes much less daunting.