“Each (retirement) plan needs to start with a realistic assessment of personal situation and goals."
Are affluent Americans overlooking something crucial regarding their retirement planning?
A new Charles Schwab survey finds that a significant majority (84 percent) of affluent Americans have a retirement plan in place, and 80 percent of these say they are confident about their financial readiness for retirement. One-third of respondents feel they are completely prepared for retirement, while another 51 percent feel at least moderately prepared.
But the survey also revealed that they were seriously underestimating how much money they will need to sustain them through their senior years. Respondents said they would need on average around $66,000 in annual income. This is far lower than their current average income of approximately $115,000.
“Each (retirement) plan needs to start with a realistic assessment of personal situation and goals,” says Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. senior vice president, CFP®, in a statement. “In many cases, we tell clients to assume they’ll need roughly the same annual income in retirement as they had beforehand unless they anticipate a significant lifestyle change, and to take into account longevity risk when planning how much money they might need.”
Not saving enough money for retirement is the greatest financial regret, while running out of money in retirement is the greatest financial fear, according to ongoing Millionaire Corner surveys of affluent investors.
Regardless of their financial knowledge, affluent investors see clear and present dangers to their current or future retirement. Topping the list are health care costs, followed by taxes, inflation, and cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Adding to the importance of realistically planning for their financial needs in retirement is that fact that respondents plan to work longer (until they are 67 years-old, the survey found) and expect to live to the age of 86.
Schwab-Pomerantz notes that even people who have a financial plan in place would be well-served to give it a second look to ensure they are on track to meet their retirement goals.
When asked how their confidence level has changed since last year, 23 percent feel more optimistic about being prepared for retirement, while 24 percent are less optimistic, and roughly half (52 percent) haven’t changed their perspective.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.