Expected Sources of Retirement Funding Changing

Wells Fargo found significant differences between how today’s retired Americans are funding their retirements and how those yet to retire expect to do so.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index data found that current retirees are more likely to depend on employer-sponsored pensions and Social Security, while future retirees expect to rely on their own savings. Nearly two in three (65%) of the non-retired say a 401(k) plan will be a major source of retirement funding for them, compared to 37% of the retired.   

Only 33% of non-retirees expect pensions to be a major funding source for retirement, compared to 46% of retirees.  Only 30% of non-retirees expect Social Security to be a major retirement funding source, compared to 52% of retirees.  

The survey found about 63% of non-retired investors say they have a 401(k) account and 72% say their employer matches some part of their contribution. Nearly two in three investors (64%) say the contributions by their employer keep them contributing or encourage them to contribute more to their 401(k) account. Thirty-six percent of non-retired Americans say they intend to put away more money for retirement over the next 12 months than they did in the past 12 months, while 55% say they will put away the same amount. 

While the poll results suggest younger Americans see retirement saving as the individual’s responsibility, only a small proportion has created a written retirement plan to fulfill that responsibility. About a quarter (27%) of the non-retired respondents and about a third (37%) of those retired say they have a “written” plan for retirement.    

Sixty two percent of the non-retired who have a written plan say they have either a “great deal” or “a lot of confidence” that they will “have enough money to live comfortably” in retirement versus 37% of those who do not have a written plan or any plan at all.Among those with a written financial plan, 92% of non-retirees and 94% of retirees feel their current plan will act as an investment roadmap for them for years to come.


Health Care in Retirement  

When asked to rate six factors that could affect when they will be able to retire, non-retired respondents said the cost of health care (72%), inflation (62%), and the price of energy (60%) were the most likely to have a “major impact.” Only one in three non-retired have a “great deal of confidence” or “quite a lot of confidence” that they'll be able to fund their health care needs in retirement beyond what Medicare offers, according to the May Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index.  

Even at the cost of saving less for retirement, the vast majority of non-retired Americans (87%) said they would provide financial support to parents or adult children needing help.   

Health care will also play a role in where non-retired Americans will live in retirement. The most important consideration for non-retirees in choosing a place to retire is proximity to a good medical facility, with 60% saying this is a “major factor,” followed by consideration of low state and/or real estate taxes at 52% and a “less costly place to live” at 45%.   

The poll was conducted with 1,099 investors aged 18 and older from May 2 through May 10, 2011.