Majority of Americans Foresee a Retirement Savings Shortfall

Fifty nine percent said it was only “somewhat likely” or “not at all likely” that their savings and Social Security will be enough to last them throughout their retirement, AARP learned in a survey.

Fifty-nine percent of those polled by AARP said it was only “somewhat likely” or “not at all likely” that their savings, investments and Social Security benefits would be sufficient to cover their financial needs throughout retirement. Among women, this jumps to 67%, and among men, it ticks down to 51%. Only 33% of women and 49% of men said they are “extremely” or “very likely” to have enough money to cover their needs throughout retirement.

Asked to expand upon their doubts about retirement, those surveyed by AARP said not making enough money and uncertainty about Social Security were sources of insecurity. Among women, it was 47% who said the former and 46% who said the latter, and among men, it was 37% for each of those factors.

AARP also asked respondents to its poll what they viewed as their biggest financial mistake. The most common response was not saving enough, followed by taking on debt, including credit cards and loans.

“The situation is serious, but not one that can’t be improved,” says AARP Financial Ambassador Jean Chatzky. “No matter your circumstance, there are resources available to help almost everyone take simple steps to improve your finances, start a savings plan and get into the habit of putting away money on a regular basis.”

The survey also found that 60% of respondents had made a New Year’s resolution for 2019 related to money. The most common savings resolutions included building up an emergency fund, saving for vacation, paying off debt and saving for retirement.

However, among those who made a resolution related to money, 51% of the women and 35% of the men said they had not saved as much as they had planned. Among this group, 61% said the reason for not saving as much as they had planned was due to unexpected expenses, and 20% said due to a decrease in income, either from unemployment or a business slowdown.

AARP’s findings are based on an online survey of 1,500 people in March. The full findings can be viewed here.