Planning for Retirement Was Never More Important

Planning for Retirement Was Never More Important

A new report, quoted in an article by Kevin McCoy in USA Today on March 21, 2017, notes that a large percentage of Americans feel stressed about their retirement prospects, but are doing little to correct the problem.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, the nation's longest-running examination of its kind, three in 10 American workers say they feel mentally or emotionally stressed about preparing for retirement. And only about four in 10 have tried to figure out what they would need each month when they retire. Just 18% of the survey respondents reported they felt "very confident" about being able to afford a comfortable retirement. The result is down from 21% of those who professed similarly strong confidence in last year's survey.

"I continue to be struck by the relatively small share of workers who do formal retirement planning," said Lisa Greenwald, the report's co-author and assistant vice president of public opinion survey company Greenwald & Associates. "Some of these critical retirement planning steps don't cost workers anything, like estimating Social Security or thinking through what your expenses may be in retirement."

The following are some of the statistics found in the study:

44% of retirees (both husband and wife) have thought about how to occupy their time.

38% estimated how much monthly income they’d need.

38% estimated the amount of Social Security  they’d  receive at their planned retirement age.

38% thought about moving  or downsizing.

34% estimated expenses at retirement.

23% talked to a financial professional.

21% calculated how much money they’d probably need to cover health expenses.

11% prepared a formal financial plan for retirement.

Determining long-term prospects is never easy, but the earlier you start (and get professional help where and when necessary), the better off you'll be in the long run. To state the obvious, it's really scary to reach "retirement" age and wonder if you will be able to make ends meet — or enjoy the fruits of your labor for so many years.

Beau Weisman, Editor