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Tags: Americans | Retirement | Outlook | Dismal

Research: Americans' Retirement Outlook Dismal but Better than It Was

By    |   Sunday, 12 October 2014 09:05 PM

Half of Americans now retire earlier than they planned, but not always because they wanted to.

The most common reason for leaving the workforce earlier than planned is health problems, which was cited by 61 percent of early retirees in a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The EBRI’s Retirement Confidence Survey showed other negative reasons for retiring early included getting laid off or downsized (18 percent), the need to care for a spouse or other family member (18 percent) and outdated skills (7 percent).

On the plus side, the survey said 26 percent of those who retired early were able to actually afford it, and 19 percent said they simply wanted to do something else with their lives.

“In the aggregate, worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps to prepare for retirement,” the EBRI study found. “Cost of living and day-to-day expenses head the list of reasons why workers do not save (or save more) for retirement, with 53 percent of workers citing this factor.

The study found 58 percent of American workers and 44 percent of retirees report having a problem with their level of debt.

As dismal as some of the findings were, they were actually worse in the recent past.

The EBRI said, “American workers’ confidence in their ability to retire comfortably, which languished at record lows between 2009 and 2013, has increased in 2014. Eighteen percent are now very confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, 5 percentage points higher than the low of 13 percent measured in 2009, 2011, and 2013, but still well below the historic high of 27 percent observed in 2007.”

A separate Merrill Lynch 2013 report called “Age Wave” reached similar findings.

The Merrill survey found the most common reasons respondents gave for early retirement were personal health problems (34 percent), accumulation of sufficient financial resources (27 percent), lost jobs (24 percent), desire to spend more time with family (16 percent), and need to care for a family member (10 percent).

In a recent column for the Huffington Post, economist Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School for Social Research, said the American “retirement crisis” is a real one.

“In a recent working paper, we find that only 44 percent of workers in the United States have access to a retirement plan at work. Except for workers with defined benefit plans, most middle class U.S. workers will not have adequate retirement income – 55 percent of near-retirees will only have Social Security income at age 65,” she wrote.

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Half of Americans now retire earlier than they planned, but not always because they wanted to, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Americans, Retirement, Outlook, Dismal
Sunday, 12 October 2014 09:05 PM
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