Middle-income baby boomers remain unconvinced about a nationwide recovery from the financial crisis, and are unsure about their chances for a secure retirement, according to recent study commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement.
This lack of confidence has changed boomers’ attitudes and behaviors about investing and saving.
The Blackstone Group conducted an internet-based survey in October of a nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans age 52 to 70 with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $100,000. The survey included questions about middle-income boomers’ feelings at three points in time: in 2006 (before the financial crisis), during the financial crisis and today.
Only 51% of respondents felt the economy had recovered somewhat from the financial crisis, and 2% said it had fully recovered. The remaining 47% did not believe the economy had recovered at all.
Two-thirds of boomers said they had not personally benefited from any economic recovery since 2007. Of these, 52% reported that their savings were lower today than before the financial crisis.
A Fraught Retirement
The CSR noted in a statement that before the crash, middle-income boomers were already contending with a “new retirement” stemming from changes to their retirement programs, as employers shifted away from defined benefit plans such as pensions to defined contribution plans, primarily 401(k) plans.
Today, middle-income boomers’ outlook for a secure retirement is full of uncertainty, according to the survey.
Only 31% felt well prepared or very well prepared for retirement, down from 41% before the financial crisis. Confidence that retirement would be personally satisfying was also down, to 37% from 44% before the crisis.
A recent report showed that boomers had many goals still unmet for a comfortable retirement.
The CSR survey found that 57% of boomers felt confident in meeting daily financial obligations, compared with 65% before the crisis.
Still, respondents’ confidence in their ability to make smart investments decisions were near pre-crisis levels, 47% today versus 50%.
The survey found that middle-income boomers were adapting their expectations to meet the realities of this new retirement.