Retirement Confidence Improving, But Effects from Great Recession Linger

By Ted Godbout | NAPA Net | Many American workers are still recovering from the Great Recession, but most are focused on saving for retirement and have varying degrees of confidence they will be able to retire comfortably, according to a comprehensive study on worker perspectives. The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) study, “A Compendium […]

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Many American workers are still recovering from the Great Recession, but most are focused on saving for retirement and have varying degrees of confidence they will be able to retire comfortably, according to a comprehensive study on worker perspectives.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) study, “A Compendium of Findings About American Workers,” shows that 56% of workers say they have not yet fully recovered financially from the Great Recession, with 37% saying they have “somewhat” recovered, 12% saying they have not yet begun to recover and 7% saying they may never recover from it. In contrast, 44% of workers say they have either fully recovered (24%) or were not impacted (20%).

The Compendium, which is part of TCRS’ 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, provides a five-year trend analysis and in-depth perspectives on more than 60 key indicators of retirement readiness, including access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits, savings rates, planning-related activities and retirement confidence.

Last year, retirement confidence inched slightly higher compared to five years ago, the study found. In 2017, 62% of workers were confident that they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle, including 18% who are “very confident” and 44% who are “somewhat confident.” The study notes that this is an improvement over 2013 and 2015, but consistent with 2016.

Future of Social Security

Not surprisingly, there are ongoing concerns about the viability about Social Security. The study finds that 76% of workers in 2017 expressed concern that the program will not be there for them when they are ready to retire — a finding that essentially has not changed since 2014.

“Most workers are counting on Social Security as a meaningful source of income in retirement – and most are concerned about its future,” explains Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of Transamerica Institute and TCRS. “Reform is needed to mitigate Social Security’s funding shortfalls, but policymakers have made little progress in identifying and implementing specific changes. Workers need clarity and direction so they can plan accordingly.”

The study suggests that these concerns present an opportunity for education, with 68% of workers admitting that they do not know as much as they should about retirement investing, and two-thirds looking to their company for more information and advice on how to reach their goals.

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