A significant percentage of retirement plan participants are uncertain they will have sufficient retirement income.
Retirement plan participants are obviously geared toward thinking about the future, but just because they are planning for it doesn’t mean they think it is going to be a rosy time.
The future is a scary place and money concerns about the future weigh heavily on most Americans. That is true of the large percentage of Americans who have defined contribution retirement plans.
According to Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner Perspective Attitudes of Retirement Plan Participants, only 60 percent of participants think their financial situation is improved over one year ago, and only 59 percent believe their financial situation will be stronger one year from now than at present.
That’s a fairly pessimistic viewpoint considering the improvement of the American economy over the past year.
However, less than 50 percent of plan participants are pessimistic about their debt and savings situation. Only thirty-two percent said they are concerned about the amount of debt the household currently has, and 42 percent say they believe their household is not saving enough money to meet future financial goals.
Almost half (47 percent) say they fully expect to have sufficient income to live comfortably during retirement.
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The age of retirement plan participants apparently plays a role in the attitudes they have toward the present and future financial situations. While only 56 percent of investors under the age of 36 think their financial situation is improved over one year ago, 68 percent say they think the next year is going to be much better. Older investors suggest the last year was better for them than the next one will be.
There was a similar variation when segmented by gender. Males were more pleased with the way things went this past year (64 percent) than they are positive about the upcoming year (57 percent), while females are more positive about the future year (60 percent) than the past year (57 percent).
Clearly, too, the amount of money saved provides a better outlook on one’s financial situation. Among investors with at least $100,000 in their retirement plan, 71 percent said things have improved over the last year financially, and 65 percent expect a similar improvement over the next year. Among investors with less than $10,000 saved, only 46 say their situation is better than one year ago and 56 percent expect the next year to be better.
There are some unusual, as well as some expected, results from the study when debt is addressed.
Asked to respond to the statement “I am concerned about the amount of debt my household currently has”, 38 percent of investors under the age of 36 agreed, but only 22 percent of investors between the ages of 35 and 49 agreed. Forty-one percent of Investors with a plan balance between $10,000 and $49,000 said they were concerned about debt, but only 17 percent of those with a plan balance of between $50,000 and $99,000 agreed.
Traditionally, debt weighs heavier on females than males, and 36 percent of females expressed concern to just 27 percent of males.
It makes sense that investors with the highest plan balances would have the lowest concern over retirement income, and the report backs that up. But it is clear that younger investors are not yet concerned about the topic as older investors are.
Among participants with more than $100,000 in their plans, 61 percent said they expect to have sufficient income upon retirement. The percentage drops to 38 percent among investors with a balance between $50,000 and $99,000, a significant decrease in confidence.
Only 54 percent of investors ages 65 and older are confident they will have sufficient income upon retirement, and the same percentage of investors ages 35 and younger feel that way. However, only 45 percent of investors between the ages of 35 and 64 are comfortable with their planned retirement income.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.