NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Big Retirement Fear: Outliving Your Savings

September 26, 2014

Almost half (46%) of investors in this country are worried they will outlive their savings in retirement, a new survey shows.

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of 1,011 investors who have $10,000 or more in savings and investments:

  • 36% of retired investors and 50% of investors who aren't retired are concerned they will run out of their own money so that eventually their main source of retirement income will be Social Security.
  • For non-retirees, about 38% of their retirement savings is invested in the stock market; for retirees, it's 33%.
  • About 58% of respondents have an income of less than $90,000; 42% make $90,000 or more.

Gary Schatsky, a New York City financial planner and president of, says, "With incomes dropping, with employment uncertainty increasing and with health care costs skyrocketing, one can only conclude that some level of concern (about running out of money) is warranted."

The Wells Fargo report found retirees say that Social Security accounts for about 30% of their retirement income. Non-retirees expect Social Security to account for about 26% of their annual income.

About 69% of investors say they're confident that between their savings and Social Security, they'll have enough money to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.

Other findings of the Wells Fargo survey:

  • 68% of investors say they actively choose stocks for their long-term investment accounts, and 29% say they consciously avoid stocks in long-term investment accounts; 3% don't know or refused to answer the question.
  • Of the investors who say they avoid stocks, more than half (56%) say they are not confident they can reach their financial goals without stock market exposure, but they still think it's better to avoid the risk.

Source:  Nancy Hellmich, "Big Retirement Fear:  Outliving Your Savings," USA Today, September 24, 2014.


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