Retirement Is a Fantasy for Many

Retirement

A third of the middle class say that social security will be the primary source of income in retirement. It is expected that there will be a sharp increase in that number in the coming years. Brian Graff, the CEO and executive director of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) says that any move by the congress to reduce the benefits accrued by contributing retirement savings will lead to fewer people saving. In effect, many retirees will be dependent on government for help increasing federal spending.

A report by the Coalition to Protect Retirement puts the contributions made to public and private retirement plans by employers between 2000 and 2009 at $3.5 trillion.

Any changes to the current incentives will lead to adverse effects to contributions, the retirement security of Americans, and employer sponsored contributions. Seeking to increase revenue should not be done at the expense of retirement savings at all.

The study by the Coalition to Protect Retirement found that the majority of people want the current tax treatment of retirement plans such as 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and traditional IRAs. As many as 87% of Americans and 95% of people who have tax deferred retirement plans such as 401(k) say that congress should keep off retirement savings and should not consider them new revenue for the government.

The state of affairs is that retirement for many is still a fantasy.

According to a study by Wells Fargo, 37% of middle class Americans say they will never retire and will work until they  too sick or until they die. A mere 13% consider it a priority to save for retirement.

The fear is that the middle class is not making the link in being invested and the potential growth of their savings. It is perhaps apathy since there is no interest in learning about investment says Laurie Nordquist, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust.

Another surveys shows that consumers have unrealistic expectations about when to retire and the amount of money they will need in retirement and the source of income.

Eric Taylor, vice president of Genworth, says that unpredictable dates of retirement compounded by misconceptions surrounding retirement expenses and uncertain future of traditional retirement income sources put retirees at risk of outliving retirement savings if they do not prepare adequately.

46% of interviewed Americans retired sooner than planned with 25% citing never wanting to work anymore, 36% blaming job loss and 17% retiring due to health issues, according to the Future of Retirement Study by Genworth.

Expectations were entirely different from reality with 52% of pre-retirees expecting expenses to decrease while in fact 77% of retirees found their expenses increased in retirement. To breakdown the increase in retirement expenses; 41% of retirees experience increases in healthcare costs while 26% had real estate expenses increase and 18% increased expenditure on dependents.

Taylor concludes by saying that the findings inform the need to have financial solutions that provide reliable retirement income.