Nearly nine-in-ten respondents say Washington policymakers do not understand how hard it is to prepare for retirement.
A significant majority of typical working-age American households are concerned they are falling short of retirement savings goals that would allow them to maintain their current standard of living and pay for basic needs in retirement, according to a recent report by the National Institute on Retirement.
Eight-six percent of respondents agree that the nation faces a retirement crisis, while 57 percent strongly agree with this view. This sentiment is highest among those with an annual income of about $75,000 (92 percent), but is equally high among Millennials.
And while 74 percent of Americans express concern about their personal retirement outlook, that percentage is down from 85 percent two years ago when this bi-annual study was last conducted. Still; three-fourths. More than half of Americans say they will seek employment after retirement to be financially secure and four-in-ten are concerned they will have to sell their home after retirement for financial security reasons, the report finds.
America’s retirement infrastructure was once built on Social Security, defined benefit pensions plans and defined contribution individual savings accounts such as a 401(k). Today, with Americans living longer and facing higher costs in retirement, a weakened retirement system with diminished access to retirement plans, is providing less income when Americans will need it most, the report states.
Not surprisingly, Americans consider retirement benefits as a job feature almost as important as salary. Three-fourths of Americans view salary as important, while 72 percent consider retirement benefits as such. More than eight-in-ten Americans rank health insurance highest in importance as a job feature. Two-thirds are willing to forgo salary increases in exchange for guaranteed retirement income.
Eight-in-ten respondents said that a pension is worth having because it provides steady income that will not run out, while nearly seven-in-ten (67 percent) indicate they would be willing to take less in pay increases in exchange for guaranteed retirement income.
Preserving Social Security, too, is a priority for seven-in-ten respondents who believe it would be a mistake to cut government spending in such a way as to reduce those benefits for current retirees. This is up from 67 percent in 2013. Four-in-ten think it is a good idea to delay taking Social Security, even if it meant tapping into existing savings to get greater benefits from the program.
The report finds a decided lack of confidence in the nation’s lawmakers to empathize with their retirement concerns. Nearly nine-in-ten respondents say Washington policymakers do not understand how hard it is to prepare for retirement, while 84 percent say Washington needs to do more to help ensure retirement security.
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.