The idea of retirement seems nice on its face. Most people would enjoy relaxing with family, devoting attention to hobbies and spending time on leisure. However, 60 percent of Americans are “very/moderately worried” about not having enough money to meet their needs once they stop working. As roughly 10,000 Americans turn retirement age every single day, this is a staggering percentage of people dealing with the fears of financial insecurity.
This fear tops the list of financial worries. Financial insecurity beats out health care costs, paying off debt and any other issues raised in Gallup’s 2015 Economy and Personal Finance Poll. The number is highest for the broad group of “middle-aged Americans” (ages 30 – 64). Almost 70 percent worry about not having enough money for retirement.
Many people who were once top income earners have had surprising reversals in their golden years. For them, a happy and well-deserved retirement has become a nightmare. Health challenges, family tragedies, business failures, stock market free-falls and other unforeseen events have had devastating impacts on fortunes.
Only 34 percent of employees expect to be better off in retirement than their parents, according to Towers Watson’s 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey. They have little confidence in programs such as Social Security. Of those surveyed, 83 percent believe the entitlement will be less valuable for them in the future. Compounding the problem are concerns about higher medical costs during retirement, as a whopping 88 percent believe Medicare will be less valuable.
In light of these concerns, employees have been more involved and interested in retirement planning since 2010. For mid- and late-career employees, this type of planning is their No. 1 priority. More than half of employees are willing to trade cash compensation for more generous retirement benefits. Three-quarters of employees identify an employer’s plan as their primary means for retirement saving, up from 61 percent just five years ago.