Retirees in Trouble: How To Play Catchup as 75% Fall Behind This Major Income Goal

Serious Asian Senior Couple thinking about their Debts with laptop computer.
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Unwritten rules guide us throughout our lives, from infancy to old age. As far as retirement income goes, most experts have agreed for years that replacing 70% of your pre-retirement income should be the minimum benchmark you use to support your standard of living when you are done working.

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However, according to the financial gurus at Goldman Sachs, 75% of retirees fail to accrue the amount of savings required to maintain a preferred lifestyle in retirement.

The Goldman Sachs Retirement Survey & Insights Report 2022 highlighted the difficulty retirees have with generating enough income to live comfortably. Just over half of those surveyed (51%) are settling with less than 50% of their pre-retirement income — and over 40% of respondents claim their savings are lagging, and they they will have to play catch-up to get to their preferred retirement income.

Among those still working, baby boomers were most likely (53%) to say they are behind in their combined savings, followed by 51% of Gen X-ers, 34% of millennials and 27% of Gen Z respondents.

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Retirees-to-Be Remain Anxious About the Future

While retirement is thought of as a time for relaxation and enjoying your remaining years in comfort, retirement planning can be an anxiety-inducing endeavor. Although 95% of working individuals feel that financial help is important in preparing for retirement, 56% prefer to manage their own incomes.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of factors influencing current or future retirees’ concerns around generating income. The study found that retirees were most fearful of rising inflation (71%), future healthcare needs (51%) and potential reductions in Social Security (46%). Working individuals were most concerned with having enough savings (51%), inflation (49%) and leaving their steady paycheck behind (43%).

If you feel you won’t have enough income upon retiring — and are feeling overwhelmed with managing financial priorities — there are a few measures you can take to help rectify your financial situation and alleviate your fears.

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The top three actions taken by respondents in the Goldman Sachs study were reducing spending, implementing a more conservative investment strategy and dipping into an emergency savings fund. However, CNBC suggested the following steps you might take to increase your retirement income:

  • Re-evaluate your lifestyle now and look for ways to cut spending.
  • Try to set aside a bit more of your salary toward savings, even if money is tight.
  • If you don’t have access to a 401(k) workplace retirement savings plan, consider contributing to a pre-tax or post-tax individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA.
  • Keep your money invested instead of trying to play (or time) the market.
  • Postpone taking Social Security benefits even if the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is high.
  • Think about buying an immediate or deferred annuity, depending on your retirement expectations and strategy.
  • Keep on working and continue to make and save more money.
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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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