senior man leaning back in chair thinking about retirement savingsAre you very confident that you will end up enjoying a comfortable retirement?

If so, you’re in the minority. Only 18% of Americans are very confident about their future retirement prospects.

This grim statistic comes from the longest-running national retirement confidence survey, which is published annually by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

In the 2017 survey, 60% of Americans feel either very confident or somewhat confident about their retirement prospects. That represents a four-percentage point drop from 2016.

Interestingly enough, retirees feel more confident than those who haven’t reached that milestone. Seventy-nine percent of retirees feel either very or somewhat confident about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years. This actually represents a four-percentage point increase from last year.

The area where retirees don’t feel nearly as confident is their ability to pay for long-term care such as nursing homes or home health care if they need it.

While a sizable percentage of Americans are not confident about their golden years, their stress level isn’t as high as you might imagine. In the survey, 44% of workers said they aren’t feeling too stressed and 25% were not stressed at all. Only seven percent of workers said they were very stressed.

Those less likely to be stressed included those with a college degree and/or an income of at least $75,000. Those experiencing stress were more likely to have less education, lower income and problems with debt.

An alarming percentage of workers have little or no money saved. Excluding home equity and pensions, 47% of those surveyed said they had less than $25,000 saved. And nearly a quarter of those workers had less than $1,000 in savings.

Savings Breakdown Among Workers

Here is a breakdown of the percentage of workers and their corresponding savings:

Assets

$25,000 - $49,000                  8 percent

$50,000 - $99,999                 10 percent

$100,000 - $249,000             15 percent

More than $250,000              20 percent                           

Workers who participate in a workplace retirement plan are 10 times more likely to be currently saving for retirement (74% with a plan versus seven percent without).

Making Up a Shortfall

So how are workers planning to compensate for inadequate savings?  Here are their top answers:

Need to retire later                                 57%

Need to save more later                         54%

Will have less to live on in retirement    54%

Less money for travel, entertainment    54%

Need to work in retirement                    50%

Need to downsize or relocate               39%

Need to rely on government services   17%

Knowing How to Invest

Another challenge that the survey uncovered was a lack of confidence among many workers in knowing how to invest their nest eggs.

Only 16% were very confident that they knew how much they should be contributing to retirement each month. The same percentage expressed great confidence in knowing how to protect their retirement savings when transitioning to retirement. And just 15% were very confident that they would know how to invest during retirement.

Slightly more than half of American workers said they had no confidence in being able to manage their savings in retirement. 

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