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How Confident Are You About Retirement?

How Confident Are You About Retirement?

Ron Kelemen - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently released its 26th annual Retirement Confidence Survey.1  The good news is that workers in 2016 are more confident about retirement than they were last year and especially from the lows of 2008-2013.  A total of 64% of those workers surveyed report that they are either very confident or somewhat confident that they will be able to live comfortably in retirement.  This is up from 58% in 2015. 


The extensive report has many interesting takeaways.  But here are just a few:

  • Retirees consistently reported more retirement confidence than did the workers.

  • Those that were very confident about their preparations for were more confident.  (Duh…).

  • Those that had a retirement plan, such as a 401k, defined benefit pension, or an IRA also were more confident.

  • Those with significant amount of debt were less confident.

  • 63% of workers are currently saving for retirement, which is down from a high of 75% in 2009, before many workers were force to dip into their retirement savings during the Great Recession. 

The bad news is the same as in other years.  Either those surveyed have really good defined benefit pension plans  and/or low projected retirement expenses, or they just don’t understand what it takes to retire.  Maybe that’s because only 36% have talked with a financial advisor about retirement planning.

  • Only 17% had $100,000 to $250,000 saved

  • 18% had more than 17%. 

  • Sadly 54% had less than $25,000 saved.  That’s not bad for a young person, but it’s disastrous for those over 50.

1. Ruth Helman, Craig Copeland, and Jack VanDerhei, “The 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey—Worker Confidence Stable, Retiree Confidence Continues to Increase,” EBRI Issue Brief, no. 422 (Employee Benefit Research Institute, March 2016).

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