Most Retirees Only Withdrawing Required Minimum Distribution

A mere 21% feel confident about drawing down their retirement plan assets, Ameriprise Financial found in a survey.

Sixty-eight percent of retirees are only taking the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement accounts, Ameriprise Financial found in a survey of more than 1,000 retirees with at least $100,000 in investable assets. Only 21% feel confident about taking money out of these accounts.

“After working, saving, investing and making sacrifices for decades to build a nest egg, transitioning to spending can be challenging,” says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “Retirement requires individuals to think differently about money. Having a plan in place to manage their finances can help retirees feel confident about spending their assets and address the fears that may be holding them back.”

The survey also found that the median savings these retirees have is $839,000. However, 25% said they were not sure if their retirement savings will last throughout their lifetime. The survey also found that 25% fell short of their retirement savings goal by $250,000 or more.

Fifty-nine percent believe that while managing investment risks and returns is complex, it is the first step they are taking to make their money last. Their second step is to turn to advisers. Reducing debt and doing research on investing tie as the third step they are taking.

Seventy-two percent say that pensions and 71% say Social Security are important to their retirement income. Seventy-six percent are receiving Social Security benefits, and of this group, 49% claimed the benefit between the ages of 62 and 64. Thirty-four percent of those who are not yet taking Social Security benefits do not know when they will start, while 20% of this group say they will start between the ages of 62 and 64, and 21% say age 70 or older.

Fifty-three percent say understanding the tax ramifications of drawdown strategies is complex, and 46% say establishing a retirement income plan is challenging.

“Retirees may miss out on the full and rich life they dreamed of by not spending the money they worked hard to accumulate,” Keckler adds. “A financial adviser can help retirees develop a strategy to withdraw their assets effectively so they don’t outlive their money.”