For some retired Americans, retirement isn’t as great as they thought it would be. Data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute show that fewer retirees say they are “very satisfied” with retirement, and more retirees report being only moderately or “not at all satisfied.”
The report is based on the period between 1998 and 2012 and comes from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study. EBRI tracked a fixed group of people who responded to each survey over that time period.
Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the study, pointed out that the drop in satisfaction isn’t necessarily a factor of income.
“The drop in ‘very satisfied’ retirees is not limited to any particular economic group. This is clearly a more general trend,” Banerjee said in a statement. “What’s not yet clear is exactly why this is happening.”
And the drop was significant. Over 60% of retirees in 1998 said they were very satisfied; by 2012, less than 49% agreed. The increase in not-at-all-satisfied retirees was less dramatic: from 8% to 10.5%.
EBRI found the decline started in 2004. However, while fewer retirees reported feeling very satisfied, the bulk of the shift was redistributed to the moderately satisfied group: from 32% to 41%.
The drop in satisfaction is spread across multiple groups; those in the lowest and highest asset quartiles showed similar trends, as did those with and without pension income, and male and female retirees.