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MarketWatch: Many Retirees Say They're Living Comfortably

MarketWatch: Many Retirees Say They're Living Comfortably
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By    |   Wednesday, 28 October 2015 08:00 AM

Retirement finances aren’t as bad as you might think after hearing study after study that says Americans are woefully unprepared to avoid poverty in old age.

About four out of five retirees at all income levels said it’s easier than they thought to manage their savings in retirement according to a survey by Greenwald & Associates Inc. for Fidelity Investments, in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity.

“Take solace from this: A majority of those who are already in retirement say it’s not as financially stressful as you may think,” writes MarketWatch columnist Andrea Coombes. Those respondents said they can “adapt their lifestyle based on their finances, if necessary,” according to the survey of 12,000 preretirees and retirees aged 55 to 80.

“A whopping 85 percent of the retirees surveyed said retirement has been the most rewarding time of their lives — and that sentiment held up across asset levels,” Coombes writes. “That is, 86 percent of retirees with less than $250,000 in assets felt that way, as did 83 percent of retirees with more than $1 million in assets.”

But people with lower amounts of stored-up wealth are less likely to be happy in retirement.

“The survey found that the percentage of retirees who said it was easier than they expected to manage in retirement dropped to a mere 57 percent among retirees with less than $250,000 in assets, compared with 78 percent of those with $250,000 to $500,000, 82 percent of those with $500,000 to $1 million, and 89 percent of those with more than $1 million in assets,” according to Coombes.

One recent study says most people aren’t saving enough for retirement because they don’t have access to workplace benefit plans.

American workers are less prepared for retirement than they were at the beginning of the millennium as the number of companies offering 401(k) plans has declined, according to a study of Census data.

Almost half of employees didn’t have a company-sponsored retirement plan in 2013, compared with 39 percent in 1999, Bloomberg News reports, citing a study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Middle-class professionals and managers are increasingly joining the ranks of low-income people who rely mostly on Social Security, but the average Social Security benefit of $15,700 a year can’t replace the earnings for people with mid-five and six-figure salaries, according to the news service.

Leaving a large company for a smaller one without a benefit plan leaves people more vulnerable.

“The current 401(k) system was designed for a workplace that doesn’t exist for most people: lifetime careers at big corporations that offer benefits,” says Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School who researches retirement policies. “Saving consistently — which you need to do for just a modest retirement income — isn’t remotely likely.”

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Retirement finances aren't as bad as you might think after hearing study after study that says Americans are woefully unprepared to avoid poverty in old age.
retirement, savings, survey, investing
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2015-00-28
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 08:00 AM
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