It’s been several weeks since I last blogged about “scary retirement statistics,” so I think it’s time for another batch of them.

According to the National Retirement Risk Index, which measures the percentage of working-age households that are at risk of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement, the looming retirement landscape for boomers and even Gen X is far less optimistic and cheerful than for current retirees:

  • 51% of households are “at risk” of not having enough to maintain their living standards in retirement.
  • Explicitly including health care in the index drives up the share of households “at risk” to 61%.
  • Incorporating long-term care costs further increases the “at risk” percentage to 65%.

OK, that last one pretty much puts us at two out of every three people between the ages of 35 and 65 being “at risk” of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. That scares me. But, hey, there is some good news. According to the NRRI site spewing out these statistics (and, surprisingly, not under a section heading titled “master of the obvious”), “saving more and working longer may substantially improve the outlook.”

There’s a magic bullet for you, consumers. So, in general terms, you have about one-third of the 35-65 population actually on track to retire traditionally, and the other two-thirds will find themselves working well past traditional retirement age unless they dramatically change their savings habits. You could also assume these same two-thirds fall into the “uninsured” or “underinsured” categories when it comes to life insurance.

As the masses continue to essentially live paycheck-to-paycheck, the challenge is finding an effective way to convince these people that the status quo isn’t sustainable for them in the long run. They have procrastinated long enough when it comes to planning for their future and realizing the importance of making sure their loved ones are taken care of in the event of their death or disability.

How can we wake up this elusive middle market?

For more blogs from Brian Anderson, click here.

For more on the middle market, see:

Reaching the Middle Market

Technology-enhanced service paves the way to Main Street

Disability Insurance: Top niche markets