While many older Americans look forward to their retirement years with great anticipation, a substantial subset of the aging population is struggling to prepare for retirement and is deeply concerned about the financial realities of this later stage of life, according to a new study conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
- Four in 10 older Americans feel more anxious than excited about retirement. Those with lower household income levels, who sometimes lack the resources to pay their bills on time and/or carry personal debt, are more likely to say that they feel more anxious than those who are in better shape financially.
- Older Americans with lower incomes are more likely than higher earners to say that they feel more anxious than secure about several specific aspects of retirement, including the size of their retirement savings and their ability to pay for housing and health care expenses in the future. For example, a majority of those with household incomes under $50,000 (58 percent) say they feel more anxious than secure about the amount of savings they have for retirement. But even among those with incomes of $100,000 or more, 40 percent are anxious about the overall savings.
- Two-thirds of working older Americans are currently saving money for retirement. Those with lower incomes are less likely to say that they are saving money for retirement than other older Americans (47 percent for those earning less than $50,000 vs. 90 percent of those earning $100,000 or more).
- Most Americans age 50 and older report that they have multiple sources of income for retirement, but a substantial minority (44 percent) expect that Social Security will provide the biggest portion of that income. Those who have lower incomes are more likely to plan to rely heavily on Social Security (54 percent for those with incomes of less than $50,000, compared with 25 percent for those with incomes of $100,000 or more) and also tend to report fewer sources overall.
- Only a third of older Americans who have retirement accounts or other retirement investments have high levels of confidence in how those investments are being managed. Confidence is low across the board no matter if people are managing their investments themselves, relying on a financial advisor, or having family help to manage their investments.