I Failed This Retirement Quiz, and You Probably Will Too

See if you can pass this tricky retirement quiz.

Saving for retirement doesn’t come easy for the majority of Americans, and neither did the answers to a short but tricky retirement quiz. Like 98 percent of the 2,500 Americans who participated in this recent GOBankingRates survey, I did not confidently answer at least four — I’m claiming three and a half — of the six questions asked correctly. Odds are you won’t either.

I found a couple of questions easy, and I was happy to see in the quiz results that more than half of my fellow Americans know what IRA stands for and that a Roth IRA allows for tax-free withdrawals in retirement. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who apparently don’t know about this important, and likely essential, tax-advantaged retirement savings account.

Retire Comfortably

Check out the full quiz below, and see why some Americans might be ill-prepared for retirement.

The one question I got correct, but nearly 80 percent of respondents failed, asks what the full retirement age is for those born after 1959. Whereas you can forgive younger Americans for not knowing this answer — they are years away from retirement, after all — I found it frightening that 32 percent of those between the ages of 55-64 think the answer is 65. They could be in for a rude financial awakening if they were hoping to leave their jobs soon after their 65th birthday with full benefits available. The answer, for those still wondering, is 67.

Here is the breakdown in responses for this particular question:

For People Born After 1959, What Is the Full Retirement Age?

Answer Choices Percentage of Respondents Who Chose This Answer
62 10.42%
63 2.55%
64 2.40%
65 39.20%
66 8.74%
67 20.40%
68 5.79%
69 10.50%

The question I flat-out didn’t know the answer to was the one about states. Thirteen U.S. states can tax Social Security benefits, and the quiz asks you to name the missing one from this list of 12: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

Retire Comfortably

I guessed California was the one missing from the list because it’s a state known for high tax rates. And so did nearly one-third of quiz respondents. However, the correct answer is Connecticut, one of the most costly retirement states.

Here is the breakdown in responses for this question, which stumped almost 90 percent of all respondents:

These States Can Tax Social Security Benefits: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and What Other State?

Answer Choices Percentage of Respondents Who Chose This Answer
Arizona 8.30%
California 30.86%
Connecticut 11.66%
Florida 14.25%
Georgia 8.82%
Oregon 6.67%
Virginia 8.86%
Washington 10.58%

The question I found tricky and the one I’d happily claim a half-point on is the question on Medicare. Like more than 40 percent of respondents, I know dental care is not covered under Medicare, but a majority do not know that hearing aids are also not covered. This is good information for soon-to-be retirees to know as they plan and budget for a long list of senior care expenses.

Retire Comfortably

Which of the Following Is NOT Covered by Medicare?

Answer Choices Percentage of Respondents Who Chose This Answer
Dental care 44.18%
Dental care | Hearing aids 5.92%
Hearing aids 19.47%
Hospital stays 5.33%
Physical therapy 10.18%
Prescriptions 7.38%
Visits to general practitioner 7.56%

Who Knows More About Retirement?

Overall, for each question asked, the older the respondent, the more likely a correct answer was given. But that’s not really saying much because only the two questions on IRAs received a 42 percent or higher correct response rate.

Females were marginally more correct than males on all of the Social Security-related questions. And although more women knew what IRA stood for, more men knew the Roth IRA allowed for tax-free withdrawals.

Whether you’re in the midst of planning your own retirement and financial future or helping your parents navigate theirs, it’s clear that a vast majority of Americans need to learn quite a bit more about the intricacies of retirement. If you want your retirement savings to last, it’s important to do the research now before it’s too late.

Click through to read about simple ways baby boomers can catch up on retirement savings.

More on Retirement Planning

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About the Author

Amy Blacklock

Amy Blacklock is a freelance writer and personal finance blogger behind the award-winning sites Life Zemplified and Women Who Money. Amy enjoys writing about all things money, especially financial wellness, retirement planning, and financial independence. She holds a B.A. from Oakland University and is an entrepreneur at heart. She’s previously owned two businesses and held positions in accounting, human resources, and project management within the automotive industry. 

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