What You Need to Know
- A Gallup poll found non-retiree expectations are lower today than immediately before the pandemic.
- Fifty-seven percent of retired participants said they rely on Social Security as a major income source. Only 38% of non-retirees believe it will be.
- The actual mean retirement age for retirees was 62, while the mean expected retirement age for non-retirees is 64.
Eighty percent of U.S. retirees say they have enough money to live comfortably, while just 53% of pre-retirees expect to have enough money to live comfortably when they leave the workforce, Gallup reported Tuesday.
The recent Gallup survey found that the pandemic’s economic fallout has done little to change these views, especially in comparison to the much more notable downturn in non-retirees’ expectations during and immediately after the 2007–2009 recession.
In April 2020, as businesses closed and the national unemployment rate soared, 51% of nonretired Americans said they thought they would have enough money to fund their retirement adequately, down 6 percentage points from the previous year.
Their expectations remain more pessimistic today than immediately before the pandemic.
Gallup did not see the same pattern among retired U.S. adults. It said steady, broad majorities reported that they were living comfortably despite the economic upheaval of the past two years. It said retirees’ reports of their financial situation were also largely unaffected by the 2007–2009 recession.
Since 2002, Gallup polls have found that between 71% and 83% of retirees said they have enough money to live comfortably, while over the same period, only 38% to 59% of those not yet retired have anticipated a similar outcome for themselves.
Gallup said it is unclear whether these differences result from retirees being better prepared financially for retirement than today’s non-retirees, or whether non-retirees are overly pessimistic about their retirement finances.
Gallup conducted the survey in April among 331 retired adults across the U.S. and 630 non-retired adults.
As has been the case in the past, expectations of retirement among non-retirees differ based on annual income, according to Gallup. Asked whether they thought they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement:
- $40,000 or less: 33% said yes.
- More than $40,000 but less than $100,000: 49% said yes.
- $100,000 or more: 75% said yes.
Gallup found no meaningful differences by age in the current survey, but noted that in the past, younger adults were often more confident that older non-retirees in their outlooks for a comfortable retirement.
Disparities between non-retirees’ expectations and retirees’ actual experiences are also evident in their reports of retirement income sources.