30 Revealing Retirement Statistics & Facts for 2021

Retirement Statistics

Saving for retirement may be more critical now than ever, considering the challenging times and the economic uncertainty we live in. To that end, we collected a bunch of retirement statistics that might give you a better picture of what you may expect after retiring and help you get organized.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 30 must-know facts and figures that will hopefully help you to leave the labor force with confidence in your financial situation.

Ten Key Retirement Statistics Everyone Should Know

Statistics on Retirement Savings in America

Americans believe that they need an average of $1.7 million to retire and live comfortably. However, the grim reality shows that the majority of US residents won’t accumulate enough net worth to retire. Why? Take a look at these stats to find the answer.

Source: Statista

1. One-fourth of Americans don’t have any retirement savings.

(Experian)

According to the latest 2020 report from the Federal Reserve, 25% of Americans don’t have a single cent in retirement savings. In light of such shocking American retirement savings statistics, it’s vital that everyone, whether 25 or 55, seriously considers a proper saving plan to allow for a comfortable and financially secure life after retirement.

2. Nearly 70% of Americans are concerned that they don’t have enough money for retirement. 

(Fool)

A survey conducted in early 2020 discovered that 68% of US workers believe they don’t have enough money to retire. Even more concerning, the survey was carried out before the coronavirus, which has led to even more chaos and worries both among young and older adults regarding their savings and retirement readiness.

3. Around four in ten workers start saving for retirement in their 20s, retirement saving statistics reveal. 

(Fool)

Based on a recent survey from Morning Consult, almost one quarter started saving in their 30s, while another 25% began putting money away in their 40s or later. When it comes to saving, sooner is always better because starting at a later age means putting more away each month.

4. According to the latest retirement plan statistics, only 32% of American workers invest in a 401k.

(Personal Capital) (U.S. News Money)

Even though 401k plans are the most common investment vehicle for retirement in the US and 59% of workers have access to one, only a small percentage are actually using them. Other types of accounts that people in the US use for their retirement savings include a traditional IRA, a health savings account, Roth IRA, and SIMPLE IRA.

5. The average retirement rate of return from a 401k is 5% to 8%.

(Investopedia)

Bear in mind that each plan is different, so you need to save accordingly. For example, the average return rate of 5% to 8% is calculated based on a 60/40 portfolio (i.e., 60% equities and 40% cash). If you have a more conservative portfolio, like 65% fixed income, 15% equities, and 10% cash, your rate of return would be 2% to 3%.

Retirement Planning Statistics 

This section will shed some light on pensioners’ readiness to retire, both in terms of finances and support.

6. The value of the retirement readiness index in the US increased to 6.7 in 2020.

(Statista)

The readiness index is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest level of preparation for retirement and 10 being the highest. According to retirement readiness statistics, the index in the US increased from 5.57 in 2012 to 6.7 in 2020.

7. Few pensioners have a retirement strategy in writing, retirement statistics in 2020 tell us.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Although 58% of retirees have a financial strategy for retirement amid the coronavirus pandemic, only 18% have it in writing. A written financial plan is essential as it helps ensure that your savings will last. Facts that need to be considered include debt repayment, living expenses, investments and returns, taxes, as well as the need for long-term care.

8. Major medical insurance is the most commonly held type of insurance among retirees. 

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Medical insurance (held by 80% of retirees), prescription drug coverage insurance (75%), and homeowners insurance (70%) are the three most prevalent types of insurance among the elderly. Other types range from reliable life insurance to dental and vision insurance. Only 35% have Medicare supplemental insurance, and 11% hold long-term care insurance.

9. 64% of retirees didn’t receive help from their employers when transitioning into retirement.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Retirement savings statistics paint a somewhat grim picture. That said, if you are lucky enough to work for considerate employers, you can ask them to give you some financial tips that can help you create a retirement strategy. Also, you can ask for more flexible work schedules or even shift from full- to part-time.

10. As many as 31% of retirees use the services of a financial advisor. 

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

About one in three retirees rely on professional help to manage their finances after they retire. Financial advisers can give you some useful advice on retirement investment or general financial planning.

11. Only 12% of Baby Boomers say that they find financial planning exciting and inspiring.

(Northwestern Mutual)

According to Baby Boomer retirement facts and stats, Baby Boomers are not thrilled about making their financial plans. When compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials are more excited about financial planning.

Statistics on Personal Finance and Retirement 

According to retirement crisis facts, there are several factors responsible for Americans not being financially ready to retire. These range from lack of adequate planning, unplanned early retirement, as well as the global economic circumstances. Browse through these numbers and facts to see how the personal finances of retirees fare.

12. 56% of retirees said they would rely on savings if their finances are hit by the pandemic.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

United States retirement statistics and surveys from 2020 tell us that retirees are also considering other sources of income amid the pandemic. These include credit cards (18%), loans from family and friends (4%), and unemployment benefits (3%). Before the pandemic, 69% of retirees said that they would rely on Social Security as their primary source of income, and only 11% stated that they would dip into their savings and investments.

13. The recommended retirement withdrawal rate is 4%. 

(The Balance)

Financial experts believe that if you withdraw 4% to 5% from your savings every year (adjusted for inflation), your money will last for at least thirty years. This rule, however, was introduced back in 1994 and can be quite rigid. It also varies considerably with your pension portfolio. As with everything else, safe retirement withdrawal rates depend on many factors you should carefully consider and plan for beforehand.

14. Strikingly, 50% of Americans aged 65 or over have an annual income lower than $24,224.

(NewRetirement)

This is far less than the amount retirees need to meet their daily requirements, as well as health and living expenses. What’s worse, the median income of households declines with age. Thus, the average retirement income in the US for households run by someone aged 65 to 69 is $53,951, while the median income of households managed by someone 75 or older is $34,925.

15. The median annual pension ranges from $9,262 to $22,172.

(NewRetirement)

The average pension benefits in the United States range from $9,262 for private pensions to $22,172 for a federal government pension. Even though pension payments cannot be improved, you can ensure that you’re getting the right pension plan before you retire. You should also calculate your pension into your overall plan and start saving accordingly.

16. Around 46% of homeowners aged 65 to 79 have mortgage debt, statistics on retirement and debts show. 

(MassMutual) (Forbes)

And it’s not just mortgages that trouble older adults. The median total consumer debt of households run by people 65 or older was $31,300 in 2016 — four and a half times as high compared to 1989.

17. “Older households” spend around $45,756 a year, the BLS reports.

(MarketWatch)

According to retirement income statistics, households managed by people older than 65 spend around $45,756 a year, or about $3,800 a month. This may seem like a considerable sum, especially given how close it is to the average annual retirement income; however, data shows that they actually spend $1,000 less than the monthly average of all combined households in the US.

Retirement Age Statistics

At what age do most Americans retire? Do they retire sooner or later than they planned? Keep on reading to find the answers and more.

18. About 51% of Americans retire between the ages of 61 and 65.

(Financial Samurai) (Dave Ramsey)

What is the average age of retirement today? Even though half of Americans leave the workforce before 65, this is still considered early retirement, mainly since most people can’t collect their full Social Security benefit before turning 67.

19. Retirement age varies by gender and state.

(Investopedia) (The Balance)

Data shows that the average retirement age in 2020 for men is 64, whereas women retire at 62. Statistics by state also show different data. For instance, workers in Michigan, Alabama, and Arkansas retire at 62, while the retirement age in states like Nebraska, Utah, and New Hampshire is 65, on average.

20. Less than 1% of Americans retire before 50.

(Financial Samurai) (Dave Ramsey)

This should come as no surprise, seeing how early retirement requires more average retirement savings — something many Americans don’t have. In fact, 54% of US workers plan to stay in the labor force after 65, with many of them doing part-time jobs or even pursuing a second career. As a matter of fact, most US workers, or 89%, are not fully retired until 75.

21. Strikingly, 56% of workers retired sooner than they had planned.

(Dave Ramsey)

There are many reasons that could push people into early retirement. Some have health reasons, others were laid off, while for many continuing working wasn’t an option in the given circumstances. Considering the rising unemployment rate today, it’s no wonder only a third of retirees left the workforce when they planned to, workforce retirement statistics report.

22. 28.6 million of 56- to 74-year-olds retired in Q3 of 2020, Baby Boomers retirement statistics show.

(Pew Research Center)

This figure is much higher than the 25.4 million who retired in the same quarter of the previous year. Since it’s believed that COVID-19 and the dire economic state worldwide are responsible for the increasing number of Boomers leaving the workforce, retirement statistics for 2021 will most likely paint an even grimmer picture.

Life After Retirement Statistics

Moving on to some more encouraging and fun facts about retirement. It seems that despite the financial insecurity, most retirees are happy with their life after leaving the workforce. What other details can stats and facts tell us?

23. To our delight, 91% of retirees state that they are generally happy.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Although many workers retire without sufficient funds saved for the years to come, 90% “are confident in their ability to manage their finances.” What’s more, it seems that retirees appreciate the free time they can spend with the people they love doing something they enjoy.

24. An astounding 71% of retirees say their health is “excellent” or “good,” statistics on retirement indicate.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Considering that health problems are among the greatest fears of the elderly, it’s good news that 58% describe their general health as “good,” while 25% describe it as “fair.” What’s more, only 2% of retirees receive long-term care, while the rest live independently, whether it’s with help from medical device systems, family, or community support.

25. US retirement statistics reveal that the standard of living hasn’t changed for 64% of retirees.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

The majority of retirees in the US have managed to maintain their standard of living since they retired. However, one in four Americans says that their standard of living has decreased in retirement. So it is of great importance to start preparing for your retirement on time and avoid the retirement crisis.

26. Most retirees spend more time with family and friends, an optimistic retirement statistic says.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

More than 60% of retirees get to spend more time with their loved ones. Reasonably so, may we add.

When you stop working, you might feel like there is a gap in your life, not knowing what to do with all that free time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about how you are going to spend your time in retirement. Pursuing hobbies and traveling, maybe even retiring to some new location, are just some of the options.

27. Almost a third of older adults live alone, retirement statistics show.

(A Place for Mom) (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

This means that 13.8 million seniors in the US live alone. What’s more, 53% of seniors live with a partner or spouse, while 10% live with their children. Living alone poses many dangers for seniors. Loneliness can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, make seniors more vulnerable to elder abuse, and lead to more unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Facts and Figures on Relocating After Retirement 

Did you know that about one million people in the US move every year after they retire? But where do they move and how do they choose where to live? Read through this section of statistics on retirement and relocation to discover more.

28. About 55% of retirees choose where to live in retirement based on the cost of living.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

Low cost of living (a crucial factor for 55%) and proximity to family and friends (considered by 61%) are two of the most important criteria for retirees when choosing where they will spend their retirement.

29. 15% of respondents in a 2020 survey named Florida as their top destination during retirement. 

(AAG) (The Balance)

Florida is not the number choice just for the warmer weather. It’s also retiree-friendly in terms of retirement tax rates, and it’s one of the seven states that don’t have personal state income taxes. However, keep in mind that lower taxes don’t necessarily mean that the cost of living is lower, so make sure you consider all other factors before moving.

30. Around 38% of retirees have moved to a new home since retiring.

(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

According to retiree statistics, about 29%  decided to move to reduce their living expenses. Another reason they cite is to be closer to their family and friends (32%), to enjoy a warmer climate (22%), or to downsize to a smaller home (29%).

Conclusion

Hopefully, these sobering retirement statistics will highlight the importance of well-thought-out preparations. It’s highly recommended that you start saving on time in order to build a large enough nest egg, be proactive, and create an adequate plan for your retirement, which includes finances, health, and other factors.

FAQs

How much does the average person have when they retire?

Looking at average American retirement savings by age, we can see that they range from $4,745.25 for 18- to 24-year-olds to $206,819.35 for 65- to 69-year-olds. Although this might seem like a high number, in reality, people should start saving at an early age if they want to retire in comfort at the age of 67.

How much should I have saved for retirement by the age of 60?

The general rule of thumb is saving from 3 times to 7 times your annual salary. Thus, people in their 30s should save about twice their salary, while Americans in their 60s should save about 8 to 10 times their salary. Planning is key, so start calculating your retirement savings rate today and begin putting money away.

How much does the average 65-year-old have saved for retirement?

Financial experts advise that the average 65-year-old American should have saved between $1 million and $1.5 million for retirement. However, following the retirement statistics, this seems like an unattainable number considering the high percentage of Americans who have no retirement savings whatsoever.

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