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What Retirement Risks do Pre-Retirees and Retirees Worry About Most?

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What retirement risks do pre-retirees and retirees worry about most?

Concerns about future inflation, paying for health care and paying for long-term care are among the top risks for both retirees and pre-retirees, according to a survey conducted by Mathew Greenwald & Associates and published by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).

What’s more, pre-retirees are generally more concerned about the risks than retirees, according to the 143-page 2019 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, results are very different between groups in different economic situations, with those in the lower economic groups showing much higher levels of concern, according to Anna Rappaport, who is chair of the SOA’s Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks. “When you look at the survey results in three tiers by income, it looks like an entirely different population and that's not going to be any different this time,” she said.

Two other findings of note:

  • Pre-retirees and retirees are both less concerned about retirement risks than in previous years and that’s a major concern, according to Rappaport. To be fair, the survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic so the results will likely change in the next survey.
  • More than half of pre-retirees (53%) expect to retire at age 65, or older whereas more than half of retirees (54%) retired at age 61 or younger. Of particular concern is the degree to which pre-retirees left the workforce at one point or another. About four in 10 pre-retirees and retirees had a period when they were out of work or underemployed after age 45. Job loss was the most important reason for this, according to the survey.

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