Retirees Have a Variety of Savings and Investments

Yeah, I know, another survey. I am always leery of surveys, but often that’s all we have to gather information.

Amid all the analysis, the hand wrenching and political rhetoric, most retirees are doing okay. Where we make our mistake is assuming a lower income in retirement always means a unsustainable retirement.

According to the TransAmerica 20th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Retirees

Amid the pandemic, 76 percent of retirees are confident that they will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle throughout retirement, with 29 percent being “very confident” and 47 percent being “somewhat confident.” Eighteen percent are “not too confident,” while six percent of retirees are “not at all confident” that they will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle throughout retirement.

Retirees currently have a wide variety of savings and investments, including checking accounts (77 percent), savings accounts (62 percent), and equity in their primary residence (47 percent).

Nearly all retirees (95 percent) expect Social Security to be a source of income over the course of their retirement. The other most frequently cited sources of retirement income include other savings and investments (40 percent), 401(k)/403(b)/IRAs (35 percent), and company-funded pension plans (30 percent). Relatively few retirees cite home equity (9 percent), inheritance (6 percent), or paid work (3 percent) as sources of income.

Twelve percent have no savings and investments.

Given the number of years they will be spending in retirement, retirees have limited household savings. Retirees have $45,000 (estimated median) in household savings (excluding home equity).

Twenty-one percent have savings of less than $50,000, while 16 percent do not have any savings.

Thirty-three percent of retirees have savings of $100,000 or more. Retirees have $78,000 (estimated median) in home equity.

Thirty-nine percent have home equity of $100,000 or more. Twenty-four percent do not have any home equity.

5 comments

  1. In my post here, I wasn’t trying to debate the merit of COLAs or lifestyles (this time). I just wanted to point out that one day when I get bored, if I can compare apples to apples and apply the same definitions of things like “comfortable” and other loaded terms, I would like to compare survey results. Often the way they play with and present the numbers, they are often in conflict with other surveys all depending on who paid for them. Maybe we need to start taking the average results of all the “like kind” surveys to find where the true and middle ground is.

    Maybe, I’ll start a survey on that question later. After all, 73.6% of all statistics are made up, so goes the joke.

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    1. Dwayne – I think it was Mark Twain who said – “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
      This saying has a literal meaning. It suggests that statistics can be used to mislead even more than the worst form of untruth.
      Politicians and journalist like to use all three in today’s discourse. I also like – Mark Twain – “If voting made any real difference they would not let us do it.” Or Joseph Stalin – ” It is not who votes that natters, but who counts the votes that matters.” Both statements are becoming truer each and ever day. I have been watching politics since 1971 and have seen no real difference not matter who is in office. The corrupt political class in America uses the first quote to get our votes and then once in office do what ever the hell that they want, to become richer.

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  2. When governor Murphy locks down NJ again and I get really bored this winter, I am going to chart the various surveys on retirement savings. The hard part will be matching apples to apples. But for a nation that has 50% without an emergency fund of $400, there are 76% of retirees who think that they will maintain their standard of living. We need bigger COLAs or else seniors will be eating dog food or maybe 24% will be?
    Like everything else, which survey do you believe?

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    1. They said maintain a comfortable lifestyle, not their current lifestyle. Comfortable is also a relatively subjective description. Some may be comfortable living a simple frugal life, while others may need more to be comfortable.

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    2. Dwayne – Bigger COLAs is not the answer. 2015 the last year I checked this – On Jan 5, 2015 I went to our local Sam’s Club and Coffee, Milk, Bacon, Eggs, Butter, and Bread all had price increases form the week before. Retailers know that we get our increase in Jan and raise prices accordingly. I noticed this when I was in the USAF, hair cuts went up on base every time we received a pay increase. What has worked in retirement for me is adjusting my budget and NOT spending. My wife and I are living very well in Montana on just $37,500 total retirement income. No credit card debt, that charges interest is the best thing we ever did. I have 3 credit cards that have zero interest and they all pay cash back. They are in my budget and will be paid off long before any interest will accrue. My Sam’s Club $100 membership more than pays for itself in cash back and free shipping from SC.com. So far this year I have saved over $400 on shipping on items that I usually buy in store. In Dec 2020 I will get $105 cash back. Low income retirees have many government programs that they can get aid. Food, Rent and Utilities, My 90 year old mother has her Part B Medicare premiums and deductibles paid for by a state program in TX.

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