People Express Pessimism About Retirement

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Emphasizing the urgency for more people to take steps now to address future financial shortfalls, AARP today released a survey that indicates that a majority of U.S. adults may be at risk of a retirement savings gap.

Fifty-nine percent of those polled by AARP said it was only “somewhat likely” to “not at all likely” that the combination of their savings, investments and Social Security benefits would be sufficient to cover their financial needs throughout retirement.  This included more women (67%) than men (51%).  Only 41% of all respondents said their retirement assets are “very” or “extremely” likely to pay for their needs through retirement.

The AARP survey is in line with a recent updated report from the U.S. General Accounting Office that found most households approaching retirement have low amounts of savings.  When polled about their “biggest financial mistakes” in the AARP survey, respondents said their most common mistakes related to not saving enough.

“The situation is serious, but not one that can’t be improved,” said AARP Financial Ambassador Jean Chatzky.  “No matter your circumstance, there are resources available to help almost anyone take simple steps to improve your finances, start a savings plan, and get into the habit of putting away money on a regular basis.”

Savings and planning tools that are available from AARP include:

  •, a site sponsored by AARP and the Ad Council that breaks down the retirement savings process into easy, actionable steps. After answering a few questions about their savings and goals, each user receives a personalized action plan that highlights three practical next steps.
  • AARP’s Money Essentials webpage; it offers advice about saving, living on a budget, managing debt and other topics.
  • The Social Security Resource Center, which provides answers to questions about when to claim, how to maximize benefits and other Social Security essentials.
  • Closing the Savings Gap™, a new AARP podcast hosted by Chatzky, that profiles women who are facing a retirement savings gap and matches each with a financial planner who helps them solve common challenges in retirement planning.
  • Work, career and employment advice to help you maximize your earning potential.

Among other findings in the AARP survey:

  • 60% of respondents said they had made a New Year’s resolution or goal related to saving money during 2019 – more than had made resolutions about losing weight, increasing their fitness or getting better organized.
  • Yet, among those who made a savings resolution, 51% of the women and 35% of the men reported that they have not saved as much as they planned.
  • Of those, 61% said unexpected expenses and 20% said a decrease in income – due to unemployment or a business slowdown – were the reasons they are not meeting their savings goal.
  • Women expressed more financial regrets than men across a wider range of areas.

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