2012 March 19 Monday
Not Enough Preparing For Retirement

The Employee Benefits Research Institute says the number of workers preparing sufficiently for retirement is declining.

Only 58 percent of workers said they were currently saving money for retirement, compared with a peak of 65 percent in 2009. The decline in the number of people saving was all in households earning less than $75,000. Furthermore, significant numbers of workers said they had to make unplanned withdrawals from their savings in order to meet ordinary expenses.

With the phase-out of defined benefit pension plans I do not see how most people are going to prepare sufficiently for retirement. Most people just don't have long enough time horizons. Their lives are far more focused on short term desires. So I expect poverty among the elderly to rise in future generations and people will find themselves working into their 70s.

This problem is made worse due to demographic changes. Singles do worse in saving for retirement and yet singles are a growing portion of the populace.

DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS: Singles, blacks, and high school dropouts do not have a sound financial standing in retirement. Their expenditures exceed their income and they hold very little financial wealth. The bottom income quartile, which includes mostly these demographic groups, has the weakest financial standing in retirement.

Another example: I do not see how the future and poorer population of California is going to be able to prepare for their retirement as well as current retirees. Thank you immigration enthusiasts for your lack of foresight and willful ignorance.

It is dawning on people that they'll have to work longer.

Twenty-five percent of workers in the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey say the age at which they expect to retire has changed in the past year. In 1991, 11 percent of workers said they expected to retire after age 65, and by 2012 that has grown to 37 percent.

I repeat advice I've previously offered here: Save more. Work harder. Build up more skills. Spend less. Choose a career path that will enable you to work longer. Get out of your comfort zone and accept you aren't doing well enough. Now, that might not apply to a few of you who have great savings and career prospects that make it very easy to control the latter years of your working careers. But the vast majority need to prepare better for changes coming in the US marketplace and with lower retirement benefits from government and other sources.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 March 19 08:42 PM  Economics Retirement

Wolf-Dog said at March 21, 2012 5:35 PM:

If we save more the economy would stall because we do not have a mercantilist policy of exporting at least as much as we are importing.

Michael L said at March 22, 2012 8:21 PM:

it's also dawning on people that "saving" isn't what it used to be. In the most basic terms, investing your savings implies the belief that the recipient will be able to use it some profitable activity for the foreseeable future. But when the prevailing belief is that either the recipient will waste it through incompetence (business strategy will be synergistic and 100% yada yada one) or else will steal it (think MF Global) or else others will steal it from him or otherwise destroy any investment (think Barack Obama).

The recommendation to invest in your own personal ability to get useful things done is indeed a valid one. Economy as we know it now can and will get crashed, but there might eventually be a living wage in maintaining whatever is left.

Just Chillin said at March 25, 2012 5:18 PM:

"Not Enough Preparing For Retirement"

Of course we ain't preparing for retirement. If we 99% can barely put food on our tables, how will we be able to prepare for the luxury of retirement.

James Bowery said at April 4, 2012 2:42 PM:

Watch this over and over until you get your head screwed on straight about the long term trends in household finances.

Michael F said at April 5, 2012 11:39 AM:

Very interesting. Sounds accurate except for what she thinks about the middle class. The three social classes will continue to exist. Middle class has always existed; only the players change.

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