Most Off Base with Retirement Planning and Spending

Most retirees (95%) of retirees who work with financial advisers during the first two years of retirement to discuss spending find it valuable, but just one in five retirees (22%) have done so.

A new survey from Thrivent Financial indicates that most are naive about how much money they will need in retirement and many are off base with their actual spending in retirement. The survey found 55% of seniors are unsure of how much money they will need to last throughout retirement. The majority (56%) are off target for their monthly spending in retirement, with 29% spending more and 27% spending less than expected.

The survey found a surprisingly carefree attitude among seniors toward their financial future – 61% said they do not worry or think about having enough money in retirement, and 62% said they are not at all anxious about the performance of their investments.

However, while they claim to not be worried about having enough money, two-thirds are taking steps to reduce their spending in retirement, including traveling less (37%), giving fewer or smaller gifts to family members (37%), shopping with coupons or at sales more often (35%), and eating out less often (32%).

Among respondents that are not yet retired, nearly one-third (32%) indicated they had hoped to be retired at this point in their lives.

Data for the survey was collected via telephone interviews by the Discovery Research Group on behalf of Action Marketing Research between December 1 and 13, 2007, among a nationwide cross section of 800 U.S. adults age 60 to 74 of whom 397 were men and 403 were women. Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated they are retired, 16% identified themselves as partly retired, and 20% considered themselves not retired.