Retired seniors lead jump in U.S. confidence to
afford the golden years
Annual Retirement Confidence Survey of workers, retirees says confidence up
but few signs they are actually doing anything to achieve the goal
April 24, 2015 – Senior citizens who have already
retired are leading the way in a resurgence of confidence about being
able to afford their retirement years among both working and retired
Americans. The researchers most be scratching their heads, however,
since they say they are few signs they are taking the right steps to
accomplish this challenge.
The 25th annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the
longest-running survey of its kind, finds that as the nation’s
retirement confidence continues to rebound from the record lows
experienced between 2009 and 2013. It is driven, the researchers say, by
those who indicate they and/or their spouse have a retirement plan, such
as a defined contribution (401k-type) plan, defined benefit (pension)
plan, or individual retirement account (IRA).
The 2015 survey was released this week by the
nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald &
“Those without a retirement plan seem to
understand they are likely to have difficulties accumulating adequate
financial resources for retirement: 44 percent of workers without a
retirement plan are not at all confident about having enough money for a
comfortable retirement, compared with only 14 percent of those who have
a plan,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director and co-author of
This confidence about being able to afford a
comfortable retirement was at record lows from 2009 through 2013 but it
has increased in 2014 and 2015, the survey reports.
Twenty-two percent are now very confident - up from
13 percent in 2013 and 18 percent in 2014. Those saying they are
“somewhat confident” has now reached 36 percent.
But still, 24 percent are not at all confident
(statistically unchanged from 28 percent in 2013 and 24 percent in
Worker confidence in the affordability of various
aspects of retirement has also rebounded. In particular, the percentage
of workers who are very confident in their ability to pay for basic
expenses has increased (37 percent, up from 25 percent in 2013 and 29
percent in 2014).
The percentages of workers who are very confident
in their ability to pay for medical expenses (18 percent, up from 12
percent in 2011) and long-term care expenses (14 percent, up from 9
percent in 2011) are slowly inching upward.
Confidence among retirees (which historically tends
to exceed worker confidence levels) also increased in having a
financially secure retirement, with 37 percent very confident (up from
18 percent in 2013 and 27 percent in 2014).
The percentage not at all confident was 14 percent
(statistically unchanged from 14 percent in 2013 and 17 percent in
Workers are somewhat more confident that they are
doing a good job of preparing financially for retirement: 25 percent are
very confident in 2015 (up from 17 percent in 2013). Overall, about
two-thirds are somewhat or very confident about their financial
preparations, while one third (32 percent) indicate they are not
Workers without a retirement plan
However, for workers without a retirement plan,
savings remain low and only a minority appears to be taking basic steps
needed to prepare for retirement. Only 23 percent of those without a
retirement plan have done retirement needs calculation and 64 percent
without a retirement plan say they have saved less than $1,000.
Perhaps in recognition that their financial
preparations for retirement may be inadequate, 16 percent of workers in
the 2015 RCS say the age at which they expect to retire has changed in
the past year. Of those, the large majority (81 percent) report that
their expected retirement age has increased.
But the RCS also finds that many retirees say they
left the workforce earlier than planned for reasons beyond their
“Workers still expect to work longer to make up for
any savings short falls. However, many retirees continue to report that
they retired before they expected to due to an illness or disability,
needing to care for others, or because of a change at their job,” states
Craig Copeland, senior research associate at EBRI and coauthor of the
“Consequently, relying on working longer is not a
solid strategy for retirement preparedness.”
Full results are published in the April 2015 EBRI
Issue Brief, “The 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey: Having a Retirement
Savings Plan a Key Factor in Americans’ Retirement Confidence,”
available online at EBRI’s website, www.ebri.org The survey was underwritten by more than a dozen
Several fact sheets, going into more detail on such
subjects as age, gender, and marital status comparisons, as well as
financial support and unpaid care provided by Americans, are online at
Among the other major findings in this year’s
>> Saving for retirement: Sixty-seven
percent of workers report they or their spouses have saved for
retirement (statistically equivalent to 64 percent in 2014), although
nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) full-time workers say that they or their
spouse have done so. Among those who indicate they and their spouse have
a retirement plan, such as an IRA, DC or DB plan 35 percent report
having saved at least $100,000 compared with just 3 percent of those who
do not have a retirement plan.
>> Why not saving: Cost of living and
day-to-day expenses head the list of reasons why workers do not save (or
save more) for retirement, with 50 percent of workers citing these
factors. Nevertheless, many workers say they could save a small amount
more. Seven in 10 (69 percent) state they could save $25 a week more
than they are currently saving for retirement.
>> Debt worries dropping: Both workers and
retirees are less likely than in the 2014 RCS to describe their level of
debt as a problem. Fifty-one percent of workers (down from 58 percent in
2014) and 31 percent of retirees (down from 44 percent in 2014) indicate
they have a problem with their level of debt. The types of debt most
frequently reported are mortgages, credit card debt, and car loans.
“It is significant that fewer people report having
a problem with debt than in the past few years,” said Mathew Greenwald
of Greenwald & Associates.
“This could indicate progress in addressing this
issue and suggests there is more emphasis on debt reduction than on
saving for retirement.”
>> Planning for retirement: Almost
two-thirds of workers (64 percent) say they feel they are behind
schedule when it comes to planning and saving for retirement. However,
this assessment may not be based on a careful analysis of their
individual circumstances. Only 48 percent of workers report they and/or
their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to
have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in
retirement, a level that has held relatively consistent over the past
The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports it
is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in
Washington, DC, that focuses on health, savings, retirement, and
economic security issues. EBRI says it does not lobby and does not take
policy positions. The work of EBRI is made possible by funding from its
members and sponsors, which include a broad range of public, private,
for-profit and nonprofit organizations. For more information go to
Related Retirement News
for Senior Journal Archives
You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.
In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.
They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.
If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.
Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...