Between rising lifespans, the decline of employer-provided pensions and an all-too-common lack of adequate savings, many of today’s seniors may not be able to sustain their standards of living throughout retirement. While not all experts agree on the severity of the situation, several independent organizations have reported troubling news.
A RAND Corporation study found that 29 percent of Americans aged 66 to 69 aren’t adequately prepared for retirement. Meanwhile, Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research estimates 53 percent of seniors won’t be able to maintain their current lifestyles. These estimates vary due to differing assumptions regarding retirement age, required income, inflation and a host of other factors – but many experienced advisors agree that hopeful retirees need to save much more.
Why has this so-called “retirement crisis” come to a head now? “People are saving less, but it’s a combination of factors,” said Jessica Wuerz, First Investors Corporation financial services representative. “Living expenses are higher, people are coming out of college with a lot of student loans and no savings, and children moving back home is putting a big financial burden on retirees.”
Other factors include longer retirements, medical advances and the resultant likelihood of needing at least some form of long-term care. At a time when people are living longer, maintaining high standards of living and still hoping to leave work in their 60s, retirement is more expensive than it’s ever been.