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Retirement Is Forced Upon Roughly 1 in 4 Americans: Fed

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How much Americans have saved for retirement. (Graphic: Bloomberg)

Most Americans aren’t financially prepared for retirement.

About 44% of Americans said their retirement savings are not on track versus 36% of Americans who said it is on track, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s sixth annual survey of household economics. The rest of Americans aren’t sure whether their plan is on track or not.

Even though more than one-third of non-retired respondents said their retirement savings are on track, one-quarter have no retirement savings or pension whatsoever. The lack of retirement savings is more pervasive among the young and diminishes with age, but 13% of those 60+ have no savings. Even among those who had some savings, people commonly lacked financial knowledge and were uncomfortable making investment decisions.

About 25% of retirees were forced into retirement because of a lack of available work while an ever greater percentage noted poor health.

There are different ways Americans can put away savings for retirement. Common funds include a 401(k), 403(b), Keogh, or other through an employer. About 4 in 10 Americans have savings outside of a retirement account. More than 30% of Americans are funding an IRA of Roth IRA and slightly more than 20% have defined benefit pension, through an employer. Income-producing real estate or land is expected to help fund 14% of retirements, while one in 14 expect to obtain income from ownership of a business.

One question that dims the prospects for a comfortable retirement, six in 10 non-retirees who hold self-directed retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, have little or no comfort in managing their investments.

Nearly half of retirees in 2018 retired before age 62, and one-fourth retired between the ages of 62 and 64. The current full retirement age to collect social security for people born in 1960 and later is 67.

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