The apparent disconnect is also emphasized when respondents are asked if they feel afraid that they aren’t saving enough – only one in three (32%) agree. While it’s encouraging that most Americans feel unafraid and in control of their finances, the number of those who say they feel unsure about whether they can afford what they need and want in retirement is troubling.
Exposing the Gap: What Americans Think They Need vs. What They’ve Actually SavedAdding to the contradictions between emotional assurance and actual financial preparedness is that Americans really haven’t saved as much as they think they will need – despite the fact that so many believe they could save more or take extra steps to prepare. The data uncovers that these Americans between the ages of 50-70 believe they need to add approximately $250,000 to their nest egg to retire comfortably.
On average, respondents say they think they will need close to $1 million for a comfortable retirement ($934,000), but their current investable assets are just under $700,000, including their employer-sponsored plans. Perhaps even more concerning is that one in four respondents (22%) report they have less than $250,000 total saved for retirement.
But Americans are thinking about how they might make up the difference. Nearly half (47%) expect to use their home equity to help fund their retirement – a surprising statistic considering that housing values remain well below pre-recession levels in many parts of the country. Doing so may be even more difficult for the 37% of homeowners who say they’ve not yet or are not on track to pay off their mortgage before they retire.Though most Americans don’t include punching the clock as part of their ideal retirement, a surprising 68% of soon-to-be retirees say they plan to work at least part-time after they officially leave the workforce. Doing more meaningful work for pleasure or to help supplement retirement income may be part of many Americans’ plans, but what some also fail to consider is that an unexpected illness or disability can impair a person’s ability to work as long as they wish.