NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Many Americans Will Come Up Short at Retirement

July 23, 2002

Economic Policy Institute retirement specialist Christian Weller issues this blunt warning: "The average American household has virtually no chance to reach an adequate retirement savings in the next 50 years."

Some workers don't have access to a pension or retirement savings plan at work and many of those who do aren't taking advantage of it.

Meanwhile, even those who have saved and invested for decades in anticipation of their "Golden Years" have seen their financial security eroded in the stock market. Some 46 percent of those saving for retirement say they will have to postpone retirement due to the stock markets' poor performance.

  • Furthermore, more than one-third of adults say they have no money saved in any kind of retirement account.
  • Around 29 percent of retirees say their standard of living has gone down in retirement.
  • Among those saving for retirement, 37 percent say they are doing only a fair job of managing their retirement portfolios -- and 7 percent say they are doing a poor job.
  • Moreover, some 44 percent of retirees say Social Security is their primary source of income -- even though it was never intended to support workers in retirement.

Most experts say retirees need 75 percent to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income. Yet more than 40 percent of middle-age households won't be able to replace even half of what they made on the job.

Source: Christine Dugas, "Retirement Crisis Looms as Many Come Up Short," USA Today, July 19, 2002.


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