Wash. State Poll Finds Delayed Retirement Intentions

More than 60% of Puget Sound-area residents in the state of Washington said they have delayed or plan to delay their retirement beyond their ideal age.

The Retirement Planning and Savings Survey, conducted by Hebert Research, Inc., and commissioned by Symetra Financial, Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., and Senior Services, found nearly 63% of pre-retirees in the Puget Sound region said they will not or are not sure if they can retire at their ideal age (most often cited as age 65), according to a news release. Of respondents who are already retired, 62.3% said they did not retire at their ideal age.

Health care was cited most frequently by respondents as the largest or presumed largest expense in retirement. Medicare in conjunction with one’s own supplemental plan was cited most often as the likeliest source of health care payments during retirement.

Nearly 66.2% of retirees expect most of future health care expenses to be covered through Medicare. Pre-retirees are optimistic that their employers will absorb a majority of health care costs after age 65, the survey found.

“These results may be reflective of dwindling confidence levels overall, considering that the vast majority of medical expenses for those 65 years and older currently are covered by Medicare,” said Nita Petry, area president of Gallagher Benefit Services in Bellevue. “We know one thing for certain—that understanding health insurance is clearly a priority.”

Twice as many local Baby Boomers (age 45 to 64) indicated they expect to rely on defined contribution plans, than do those already retired. However, the survey findings indicated these plans have not replaced pensions altogether. For 34.2% of Puget Sound pre-retirees, pensions still are expected to be a primary source of retirement income.

Despite the financial concerns of many respondents, 42% of pre-retirees have not calculated how much income they will need to last throughout retirement.

The survey abstract is available here.