I’ve been reading a ton about retirement, sounds like you too. The retirement statistics I’ve been reading are shocking. Retirement is a defining milestone in life that marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Many people look forward to the end of their careers when they no longer have to work long hours and can travel and spend time with their grandchildren. But, to make this possible, you need to build a nest egg so that you can enjoy your golden years comfortably and worry-free.
To get the ball rolling, though, here are 101 must-know retirement statistics to motivate you and help you set realistic targets.
Retirement Planning and Saving
The average retirement savings for Americans is $65,000, despite their belief they need millions to retire. One of the reasons could be that Americans aren’t saving enough. Another is that maybe their jobs aren’t offering adequate retirement plans.
With that in mind, here are general retirements planning and saving facts that you should know.
1. 13 percent of all non-retired people in the United States have no assets saved up for their retirement.
One in seven Americans doesn’t have any assets for retirement, according to the Federal Reserve.
In other words, most of us will have to work until no longer physically possible, rely solely on social security, or settle for another option instead.
While it’s certainly possible to rely entirely on Social Security, you might want to consider other options as well.
2. Despite owning an IRA or 401K, 60 percent of those who don’t yet have retirement savings are uneasy about managing their funds.
Preparing for your retirement should include learning how to manage your retirement assets.
Whenever investing, it is always a good idea to plan out what you’ll need and how you’ll achieve it before you start.
If you don’t ask questions now, you will soon be without the resources to enjoy your golden years. Instead of delaying your questions, you should ask them now while there is still time to find the right answers.
3. 75 percent of workers save for retirement through their employer-sponsored retirement plan or outside their job.
In addition, according to the TransAmerica Center survey, fewer part-timers (60 percent) are saving for retirement through their employer’s retirement plans and/or outside of work in comparison to full-timers (79 percent). Retirement savings typically begin when workers are 27.
4. Since year-end 2007, the first year after the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 took effect, the number of employers adopting automatic enrollment has more than tripled.
At the end of 2020, 54percent of Vanguard plans will be auto-enrolled, including 74 percent of those with at least 1,000 participants. Due to the prevalence of automatic enrollment in larger plans, 69 percent of participants enrolled in automatic enrollment plans in 2020.
The majority of automatic enrollment plans automatically increase deferral rates every year. In addition, automatic enrollment defaults have increased in recent years. Deferral rates of 4 percent or higher now default on 57 percent of plans, up from 30 percent in 2011.
In 2020, 98 percent of plans with automatic enrollment assigned participants to a target-date fund as the default investment strategy.
5. The average retirement length is 18 years.
If we calculate the typical retirement age of 66, a retiree would enjoy retirement until the age of 84 on average. The average does not always hold true for everyone, as even the statistics on life expectancy after retirement would indicate. While some people die at a younger age than that, other people die at an older age.
6. Approximately 56 percent of Americans do not know how much money they will need for retirement.
Many people are unaware of their potential financial situation at retirement, which is why this worrying statistic is not entirely surprising. What if you fall into that camp? No worries.
Several tools are available that can help you determine how much you should be saving. Her’s an annuity calculator we’ve put together to help you understand a little bit more. There are also investment apps that can assist you in building your savings.
7. For people between the ages of 55 and 64, the median retirement savings was just over $107,000.
Although 77percent of Americans have a retirement plan, many lack the savings needed to live the same level of life after retirement as they did while working. According to a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had median retirement savings of just over $107,000.
Investing this amount into an inflation-protected annuity, the GAO noted that this amount would translate into only $310 monthly payments.
8. A minimum of $5 million is required to retire early.
Getting to age 66 may seem quite a journey, but it’s not impossible. But, if you want to spend more quality time with your loved ones or travel more, you can retire earlier.
Therefore, you may be asking, “How much should I have saved for retirement by age 55?”
The answer is quite simple. According to financial experts, you need to have at least $5 million in savings to retire early.
[Read: Early Retirement will Bankrupt your dreams]
9. One-third of respondents claim that they cannot save for retirement due to non-mortgage debt.)
Approximately 70 percent of survey respondents report they can’t save for retirement because of non-mortgage debt.
10. You may be forced to retire early.
There is nothing wrong with having a plan for retirement, but sometimes life doesn’t go according to that plan. According to TD Ameritrade’s survey, health problems and job changes are the most common reasons for people retiring earlier than planned.
About half of Americans retire sooner than they would have liked due to layoffs, caregiving responsibilities, a change in their financial situation, or medical concerns.
In addition, a survey released in February by the National Institute for Retirement Security indicated that more than half of all workers have moved up their retirement date due to COVID.
11. Two out of three workers have student loan debt that affects their retirement savings.
Americans struggle to pay back student loans or default on them due to the high level of student debt they have today. When this happens to you, you aren’t just affecting your credit score.
When you’re approaching retirement age and have much less money saved up than when you were working, a burden like this can leave lasting repercussions.
Taking advantage of various repayment options available today can help you repay your student debt faster than you thought possible. Examples could be through debt consolidation programs or finding an additional income stream through a second job or passive income.
12. For you to maintain your lifestyle in retirement, you will have to save between $500,000 and $1 million.
A substantial amount of money that requires years of saving as soon as possible. Here are a few additional ways to make money online if you need extra ways to save a little more.
13. About one-third of Americans are not confident that they will have enough money to retire comfortably.
Many people do not believe they will be able to retire comfortably, so they think they have to work towards retirement rather than anticipate it. Combining this statistic with the fact that many people don’t love their jobs or find them to be miserable, this statistic paints a bleak picture.
Additionally, determining how comfortable you’ll be in retirement is important, but figuring out when you are ready to move on to the next stage is just as crucial.
14. Many Americans (71 percent) are concerned that they will not be able to qualify for social security when they retire.
The Social Security program provides long-term benefits to those who retire. Sadly, most Americans fear the future of this system and what it will mean for them down the road.
As such, you should build a primary source of retirement income and supplement that with Social Security to live comfortably and enjoy your golden years. Also, defined contribution plans such as the 401k and 403b help you stay on top of your retirement savings.
15, Only 12 percent of people with retirement strategies in place have written them down.
When it comes to retirement, having a retirement plan is a great way to visualize your future and figure out what you want. By having a written plan you can refer to from time to time, you will stay on track since you can refer to it whenever you need to.
When people don’t plan and don’t think long-term, they often make unnecessary mistakes. In addition to only 54 percent of people having a retirement strategy, only 12 percent have a solid plan in place that is ready to be executed.
Creating such a plan might be something you should consider if you haven’t already done so. If you plan to invest in traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, or other retirement funds, make sure to include them in your plan.
16. Only one in three Americans has more than $100K saved for their retirement.
The more you save, the longer you will be able to afford the lifestyle you want in retirement. In spite of the $100K figure being not bad, it still feels frustrating knowing that it won’t be able to sustain people for long in the future.
It’s important to remember that, while the $100K figure comes from TD Ameritrade, it’s important to estimate based on your individual circumstances. By doing so, you’ll be able to see how retirement would stack up with the lifestyle you envision for yourself.
17. More than 22 percent of Americans had less than $5,000 saved for retirement and 15percent had no retirement savings in 2019.
One year prior, 31 percent had less than $5,000 saved and 21percent had no retirement savings at all.
18. Half of Americans with retirement accounts have taken an early withdrawal.
Approximately 52 percent of American workers say their retirement savings are not where they should be, according to a Bankrate survey. Furthermore, 16 percent don’t know if they’re on track, while 21 percent say they’re in the right place. And, just 11 percent report that they are ahead of schedule.
Similarly, Americans have depleted their retirement accounts for survival.
Among those with a 401(k) plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 51 percent have taken an early withdrawal, including 20 percent since the pandemic started in early 2020.
“Saving for both emergencies and retirement are vitally important to current and future financial security,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. “Even a modest emergency fund acts as a buffer from early retirement account withdrawals when unplanned expenses arise, allowing the power of compounding to continue to work its magic.”
19. 58 percent of Americans rated their retirement savings’ adequacy C or lower.
According to a 2020 TD Ameritrade survey, although most Americans have a retirement plan, 58percent of them believe they do not have enough savings for retirement. According to the results, many Americans wait until they turn 60 to ramp up their savings. Saving and investing early on would therefore be a few pieces of advice they would give to their younger selves.
20. To calculate your retirement savings, multiply your total annual expenses by 25 to calculate your retirement savings needed.
In retirement planning, consider the Rule of 25, which encourages Americans to multiply their total annual expenses by 25 to calculate their needed retirement savings.
Retirement statistics often use this rule to determine the ideal income for retirees. They must save a certain amount of money by the time they retire based on the total amount. If one is planning to spend $60,000 a year, they will need to set aside $1.5 million.
Retirement Savings By Generation
How is each generation fairing when it comes to retirement? Let’s take a quick look.
21. 45 percent of baby boomers have no retirement savings.
22. Only 54 percent of Baby Boomers still in the workforce have savings for retirement greater than $25,000.
23. The average private savings of Gen Xers (41 to 56) is $67,100, and their retirement savings is $98,900.
24. The average balance of millennials’ retirement accounts is $63,300, whereas their personal savings amount to $51,300.
25. Millennials are the most pessimistic generation (72 percent) about financial security after retirement.
26. Generation Z adults, those between the ages of 6 and 24, generally have $35,900 in personal savings and $37,000 in retirement savings.
Retirement Savings by Income
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that income also plays a factor in retirement planning and saving. After all, if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, it’s almost impossible to set aside money for retirement.
27. Approximately 90 percent of upper-income earners currently save for retirement, with 30 percent setting aside 15 percent or more of their income. Due to this, more than half of high-income workers have saved at least $50,000 for retirement, while only 6 percent have no savings.
28. Over two-thirds of middle-income earners are saving for retirement, but only 9 percent do so by saving 15 percent or more. Only 22 percent of Americans have saved $50,000 or more for retirement, and 27 percent have no nest egg.
29. Only 4 percent of lower-income earners currently save 15 percent or more of their income for retirement and less than a third save anything for retirement. There is only 6 percent of Americans who have saved $50k or more for retirement, and 64 percent have no savings at all. Four in ten lower-income earners don’t plan to save for retirement.
Retirement Savings by Gender
There are some significant differences between men and women in regards to retirement. Even though women live longer on average, they tend to retire earlier than men. These are some shocking retirement statistics that I found very interesting.
30. Women make up 33 percent of those without a retirement plan. There is just 24 percent of women who have written down their retirement strategy.
31. Compared with 62 percent of men, 56 percent of women say saving for retirement is a priority.
32. Almost half of women (52 percent) estimate how much they should save for retirement based on what they think they need. Among those who use a calculator or worksheet, only 18 percent do so, while 10 percent work with a financial advisor.
33. U.S. women save $57,000 on average for retirement, while men save $118,000.
34. In comparison, 14 percent of men and 24 percent of women have $10,000 or less saved for retirement.
35. Women with more than $250,000 saved (24 percent) are 45 percent less likely to have the same amount than men (35 percent).
Retirement Savings by Race, Ethnicity
Similarly to income and gender, race and ethnicity can also have a substantial impact on retirement. It is unfortunate that non-whites are extremely disadvantaged in the United States when it comes to retirement.
36. 62 percent of black households and 69 percent of Latino households do not have retirement assets. In white households, this is only 37 percent.
37. A job-based retirement plan is less likely to be available to black, Asian, and Latino workers in the private sector, respectively 15, 13, and 42 percent less likely than it is to be available to white workers in the public sector.
38. Compared to one out of two white households, three out of four Black households, and four out of five Latino households between the ages of 25-64 have less than $10,000 in retirement savings.
39. Among near-retirees of color, the average retirement savings balance ($30,000) is one-fourth the amount that white households have ($120,000).
40. Over two-thirds of Hispanic households don’t contribute to workplace savings vehicles such as 401(k)s. Private retirement plans such as individual retirement accounts do not bridge the gap. Only 8 percent have an IRA or similar plan.
Retirement Savings by Marital Status
Is retirement savings influenced by one’s marital status? It appears that way.
41. Singles save less for retirement than married couples – 49 percent versus 65 percent. One-third of singles currently set aside up to 9 percent of their income for retirement, while the same proportion of married couples saves up to 10 percent.
42. About half of married couples and 30percent of singles have saved at least $25,000 each. One-third of single people do not have any retirement savings, while 18percent of married couples do not have any.
Retirement Statistics By Region
It’s not surprising that retirement statistics differ by region in a country as large as the United States. So, let’s explore some key retirement statistics by region.
43. With $523,568 on average, Connecticut has the highest retirement savings.
“There are a few specific regions that seem to stand out the most in terms of top-ranking,” reports Personal Capital. “If you compare East Coast versus West Coast, it’s clear East Coasters are tucking away more in their retirement nest eggs.”
“Connecticut leads this year’s top 5 list with an average retirement savings of $545,754. Fellow East Coast states also included in the top 5 are;
- New Jersey (2nd – $514,245)
- New Hampshire (3rd– $$512,781)
- Vermont (5th – $494,569)
Alaska is the only western state to rank in the top 5, having an average balance of $503,822.
44. A retirement savings average of $300,568 is the lowest in Utah.
“As far as the bottom of the list goes,” here’s what Personal Captial has found;
- Utah (1st bottom – $315,160)
- North Dakota (2nd bottom – $319,609)
- Washington D.C. (3rd bottom – $347,582)
- Oklahoma (4th bottom – $361,366)
- Mississippi (5th bottom – $347,884)
45. Hawaii requires the most retirement savings.
If you’ve always dreamed of retiring to the Aloha State then you’ll need $1,692,722 in retirement savings. You’ll need $120,909 per year to retire comfortably.
46. Kansas requires the least amount of retirement savings.
On the flip side, you’ll only have $753,339 to retire in the Sunflower State. A comfortable retirement would cost $50,223 annually.
47. The median retirement age in Hawaii, South Dakota, and Massachusetts are 66.
By comparison, these three states add at least two years to the national average age of 62-64. The estimated retirement savings needs in these states, however, also differ greatly. It is estimated that in Hawaii, $1,692,722 is needed to retire comfortably, while in South Dakota, only $786,497 is required.
Retirement Saving Plan Statistics
Obviously, not every retirement plan is the same. Here are some other retirement plan statistics to take note of.
48. 68 percent of private-sector employees have access to retirement plans through their employers, which means workers rely on their employers to set up retirement plans for them.
49. According to a Statista survey, 55 percent of respondents used regular savings account accounts for retirement savings.
50. In the survey, 54 percent of respondents had a 401(k) account.
51. A traditional IRA is held by 20 percent of respondents.
52. 19 percent of respondents of the survey owned a Roth IRA.
53. 19 percent reported on having certificates of deposit.
54. In the survey, 17 percent of respondents had annuities or life insurance policies.
55. 17 percent of respondents had an account that was tax deductible
Social Security, a federal safety net for the elderly, unemployed, and disadvantaged Americans, was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. The original Social Security Act provided that retirement benefits would be based on lifetime payroll tax contributions for retirees over age 65.
To structure the Social Security Act and determine the logistics of implementing it, the Act also established the Social Security Board, which later became the Social Security Administration.
56. Approximately 71 percent of Social Security recipients are retired workers in 2020. What’s more, 13 percent were disabled workers, 9 percent were surviving spouses or children of deceased or disabled workers.
57. The number of retirees receiving Social Security benefits increased from 45.1 million in the year 2019 to 69.8 million in 2021.
58. In the United States, 57 percent of retired adults rely on Social Security income.
59. A retired worker’s average Social Security benefit in 2020 was $1,544.
60. Women make up 55 percent of adult SSI recipients.
61. In 2033, Social Security benefits will be cut by 23percent.
In 1978, Congress passed the Revenue Act which created the 401(k). As a result of this act, employees receive deferred compensation that is not taxed.
62. The US retirement market is estimated to reach $37.2 trillion by the end of 2021, notes ICI. It includes employer-sponsored retirement plans (both defined-benefit (DB) and defined-contribution (DC) plans with both public and private employers), individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and annuities. 401(k) assets totaled $3.1 trillion and accounted for 17 percent of US retirement assets in 2011.
63. There will be around 600,000 401(k) plans in 2020, with about 60 million active participants and millions of former employees and retirees. At the end of June 2021, approximately 66 percent of 401(k) assets were held in mutual funds. Stocks and bonds owned by companies, guaranteed investment contracts, bank collective trusts, life insurance separate accounts, and other pooled investment products comprise the remaining 401(k) plan assets.
64. “Account balances tended to be higher the longer 401(k) plan participants had been working for their current employers and the older the participant,” states ICI. “In the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database, at year-end 2018, participants in their forties with more than two to five years of tenure had an average 401(k) plan account balance of about $36,000, compared with an average 401(k) plan account balance of more than $306,000 among participants in their sixties with more than 30 years of tenure.” The median 401(k) plan participant was 46 years old at the end of 2018, and the median tenure was six years.
65. Among workers employed in 2021, 56 percent were enrolled in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Of those with access to retirement benefits, 72 percent did so. This is pretty much free money if you’re maxing it out.
66. In 2021, the average American expects to save $1.04 million for a comfortable retirement, up 10 percent from 2020.
Pensions and Annuities
The concept of pensions and annuities has been around for a very long time. Annuities, as an example, can be traced back to Ancient Rome, with the word itself being derived from the Latin, annus, or year, and the Latin, annuitus.
67. In the U.S., more than three-fourths view defined benefit pensions favorably. In terms of retirement security, 64 percent of respondents believe pensions are superior to 401(k)s. Also, 77 percent say those with pensions are more likely to be comfortable when they retire than those with a 401(k) plan.
68. Some 82 percent say police officers & firefighters deserve a pension because they have risky jobs, while 74 percent say teachers deserve pensions to compensate for low pay. Most respondents (79 percent) believe all workers should have pensions, not just state and local government employees. State and local governments use pensions to attract workers, with 83 percent stating this is true.
69. In the U.S., fewer than one-third of Americans (31percent) retire with a defined benefit pension plan. Pension-holders receive an average annual pension benefit of $9,262 for private pensions, $22,172 for federal government pensions, and $24,592 for railroad pensions.
70. According to a TIAA survey, 69 percent of people saving for retirement on the job prioritize guaranteed income for life as one of their top priorities.
71. According to Limra’s Secure Retirement Institute, the total sale of annuities in the U.S. in the last three months of 2020 was $58.7 billion, up 2 percent from $57.6 billion during the same period in 2019.
72. In the current market, the average fixed annuity rate ranges between 2.15% and 3.25% for terms between 2 years and ten years. With a Due Fixed Annuity, however, you’re guaranteed 3% on every dollar you have deposited.
Common Retiree Income Sources
According to a Federal Reserve survey, retirees receive their income in several ways.
73. Social Security is the primary source of income for 79 percent of retirees (93 percent of those over 65)
74. Pensions are received by 59 percent of retirees (68 percent among those 65+)
75. 46 percent of retirees receive dividend income, interest income, or rental income (50 percent for those 65 or over).
76. 32 percent of retirees draw their income from salary, wages, or self-employment (25 percent among retirees 65 and older)
77. 12 percent of retirees get cash transfers that aren’t Social Security (7 percent among those 65+)
Life in Retirement
While this will vary depending on favors like where you’ll live, health, and lifestyle, here’s what you can anticipate spending during your post-work life.
78. The average annual spending of Americans 65 and older in 2020 was $47.579.
79. Under the age of 55, US households spend almost $58,000 annually on a wide array of expenses. At age 55, retirees tend to spend more, as they travel more or take up new activities. Spending overall drops significantly in the age range when most people are retired at 65 and older.
80. Workers in 2020 spent $23,245 on housing, compared to $17,435 spent by retirees.
81. In 2020, retirees spent an average of $6,668 on health care while workers spent $4,762.
82. An average retired couple is expected to spend $300,000 on healthcare. Included in this amount are Medicare premiums, copays, deductibles, and non-covered prescription medications.
83. An average Medicare Advantage plan in 2021 costs just $21 per month — a 34 percent reduction from 2017.
84. A study by the Senior Citizens League shows that COLAs have increased by 55 percent in the past 20 years, but older adults’ expenses have increased by 104.8 percent. Despite that, there have been price increases of double digits in some areas, such as energy commodities (41.7 percent), used cars and trucks (24.4 percent), beef steaks (22.1 percent), and car and truck rental (42.9 percent).
Housing and Living
85. Among Americans over 65, only 4.5 percent reside in nursing homes.
86. Nearly 19 percent of Americans 65 and older moved to another state or country in 2019.
87. 77 percent of retirees would like to remain in their community for as long as possible.
88. Renters spend 76 percent of their income on housing, compared to 36 percent of homeowners.
89. There is a 70 percent reduction in cognitive decline with age among people who engage in frequent social activity compared with those with little social interaction.
90. Two out of three retirees say their most recent employer failed to help them adjust to retirement.
91. About 28 percent of retired people report feeling pressured to retire.
92. More than half of workers (55 percent) plan to continue working in retirement. A lack of retirement savings accounts for 35 percent of those who plan to work in retirement.
93. Seventy-two percent of reasons for continuing to work in retirement are related to health. These reasons include remaining physically active (47 percent), keeping the brain alert (39 percent), keeping a sense of purpose (34 percent), and maintaining social connections (21 percent).
94. As for their primary source of income, 14 percent plan to work after retirement.
Miscellaneous Retirement Statistics
95. What prompts people to start saving for retirement?
- Turned a certain age 29 percent
- Employer offered matching contributions 24 percent
- Employer started paying into a plan 22 percent
- No particular reason 17 percent
- Automatic enrollment in employer’s retirement plan 16 percent
96. Over 75 percent of self-employed people think they are personally responsible for ensuring a comfortable retirement.
97. Savings and investments typically account for 45 percent of retirement income of the self-employed (compared to 32 percent of employed people).
98. Nearly 75 percent of nonretired adults have some retirement savings, but only 36 percent see their savings as on track for retirement.
99. According to the supplemental poverty measure, 12.8 percent of seniors 65 and older live in poverty.
100. There has been an increase in retirement readiness over the last decade. The U.S. retirement readiness index score in 2012 was 5.57 (1-10, 10 being the highest score) and in 2020 it rose to 6.7.
101. Family friends (35 percent), online resources/DIY research (35 percent), and financial advisors are the most common sources for retirement prep.
What is the required amount for retirement?
Several factors affect this question, including the state you live in and how much money you’ll be receiving from Social Security and other retirement income sources. For those who are comfortable with their current lifestyle, they should count on spending around 80 percent of their pre-retirement salary in retirement.
You will need at least $48,000 in retirement income per year to live comfortably if you make $60,000 per year.
How much does the average American have saved for retirement?
The average American retiree has savings of $221,451.67. This figure is based on Americans who are 60-64 years old and is the average retirement age in the United States.
What percentage of Americans have saved more than $1 million for retirement?
Approximately 10-16 percent of American households have more than $1 million in retirement savings. The number increases close to 20 percent if you include a household’s net worth in the calculation, while it drops to 10percent if you only include people with more than $1 million in retirement accounts.
When should I claim my Social Security benefits?
If you wait until your “full retirement age” to claim your Social Security benefits, you will receive higher benefits. You can begin claiming Social Security benefits at the age of 62. Generally speaking, the number of benefits you’ll receive upon claiming will increase until you reach 70 years of age.
What can I do to increase my retirement savings?
Starting your retirement savings as soon as possible is the best way to boost it. Those who began saving at 35 with $100 will only have around $150,000 by retirement age, whereas those who started saving at 25 with $75 will have over $250,000.
Here are some other ways that you can boost your retirement savings;
- Put in as much of your 401(k) as your employer will match, rather than as little as possible
- If you switch jobs, make sure to roll over your previous 401(k) or IRA.
- Whenever you receive a raise, bonus, tax refund, or inheritance, invest this money into a retirement fund.
- Have you maxed out your other retirement contributions? If so, consider buying an annuity. Annuities can provide a guaranteed lifetime income that grows tax-deferred. Also, you can purchase riders to help cover long-term care expenses or leave the remaining to your beneficiaries.