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Survey Finds Nearly One In Five Americans Expect Never To Retire

Working until you drop is no longer confined to the pages of Victorian novels according to the sobering findings of a new report published today by HSBC. The study discovered that nearly one in five (18%) working-age Americans expect they will never be able to afford to completely retire, believing that circumstances will require them to work indefinitely. This compares to an international average of around one in eight (12%).

This latest HSBC report entitled ‘Life after work’ is the ninth in a series focused on international attitudes towards aging and retirement and is based on a survey of more than 16,000 people in 15 countries and territories 1 between July 2012 and April 2013. The findings paint a particularly bleak picture for the growing number of Americans who are currently living alone. One in three (33%) divorced or separated U.S. respondents said they did not believe they would ever be able to retire, compared with the survey average of one in five (20%).

For those already in retirement, over two fifths (44%) of people in the U.S. said they had not prepared adequately or at all for a comfortable retirement, compared to some 38% globally, with almost half (43%) of those only realizing they were underprepared after retiring. Around one in eight (12%) of those Americans who did not prepare adequately said they would be forced to go back to work to cover their financial shortfall. This compares with the survey average of 14%.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. HSBC’s research goes on to highlight four practical actions, which can help retirement savers everywhere to plan now for a better future in their old age:

Action 1: Don’t rush into retirement

There is a view among retired people that they might have been too hasty in giving up paid employment. Nearly two-thirds (64%) who entered semi-retirement wished that they had stayed in full time employment longer. This regret is largely for positive reasons, with many retired people seeing work as an important means of keeping the body and mind active.

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