Most Americans over 50 worry they won’t have enough

Most Americans over 50 worry they won’t have enough
Most Americans over 50 worry they won’t have enough

Among AARP survey findings: 61% of Americans 50 and up are worried they won’t have enough money for retirement. And only 21 percent of people have a retirement plan.

An increasing number of people are worried that they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, and men aren’t as financially secure as they once were, according to an annual survey from the American Association of Retired Persons.

The AARP Financial Security Trends Survey, released in January, included interviews with more than 8,300 Americans over 30 across every state in the country. Conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, the survey aims to analyze the financial experiences and attitudes among Americans.

One of the survey’s biggest findings is that 61% of those 50 and up are worried they won’t have enough money for retirement, Indira Venkat, senior vice president of research at AARP, told USA TODAY on Wednesday.

And if you break those numbers down even more, one in five of people who have not retired have no savings at all, Venkat said.

“Among retirement savers who are 50 and over, there’s a growing number compared to last year that don’t expect that they will save sufficiently if they continue at the current rate that they save,” she said.

Those numbers “should be a wake-up call for all of us,” she said.

Adults are worried about having enough for retirement. What does this mean?

Venkat said the reason some people may be worried about saving for retirement is because they don’t have access to retirement plans through their jobs.

“Today, almost half of those who are in the private sector workforce, and that’s 57 million workers, don’t have the option to save for retirement through their work,” she said.

People who have access to retirement plans are more likely to save, she said.

Another reason for retirement woes is inflation. Calling it a “bread and butter” and “kitchen table” issue, she said many people are struggling to afford basic necessities and gas.

In fact, over 70% of all respondents expressed concern about prices rising at a faster rate than their income.

Many people also have month-to-month balances on credit cards, she said. According to the researchers, the average amount of credit card debt carried from month to month increased from $7,538 in January 2023 to $8,169 in January 2024.

Gender and financial planning

AARP noted findings among men specifically.

Among men who are regularly saving for retirement, 28% are saving 10% or more of their income. In January 2022, more men 35% were saving 10% or more.

Other findings include:

  • 40% of men are worried about basic expenses (up from 33% in January 2022)
  • 42% of all men age 30 and up describe their financial situation as “only fair” or “poor” (up from 34% in January 2022)
  • 43% of men carry a credit card balance (up from 38% in January 2022)
  • 62% of men have emergency savings today (down from 69% in January 2022)

“We are seeing that men today are a little bit more worried than they were in prior years about their financial security and situation,” Venkat said. “Forty-two percent of men, if they’re asked to describe their financial situation, say it’s terrible.”

The team also compared responses among men and women, finding that:

  • 62% of men are more likely to have an emergency savings vs. 58% of women
  • 42% of men are less likely to be worried about managing debt vs. 47% of women
  • 61% of men with debt are more likely to view their debt as manageable vs. 52% of women

Limitations of the survey

Venkat said the survey was “very robust” and was done using probability samples, but one limitation is that it was conducted in English and Spanish only.

“To the extent there are other dominant spoken languages ​​in the home, those individuals are not represented in this study,” she said. “And then, of course, the standard margin of error with any survey applies to this.”

Financial planning among survey respondents

There were some surprising findings surrounding financial planning, Venkat said.

Among older adults who are not yet retired, 94% said it is important for them to have a plan to manage their money during retirement. Among then, just 21% of them have a plan, she said.

She said AARP has resources to help people plan, including tools like a Social Security calculator, an AARP retirement calculator, a required minimum distribution calculator and a 401(k) calculator.

The concerns respondents expressed while completing the survey further provide the importance of having a plan for retirement, AARP says.

“Plans need to address not only how to build savings during working years,” the company writes, “but also how to spend money in retirement in a way that will allow it to last.”

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at [email protected].

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