Research Outline

Retirees Financial Concerns


To obtain a graph showing the biggest financial concerns for retirees and pre-retirees, with top defined as those with the largest percentage of retirees/pre-retirees concerned about it.

Early Findings

  • According to a February 2019 survey of about 1,000 Americans between the ages of 55 and 75 with income of $100,000 or more, the top six financial concerns of the group based on the percent of respondents concerned were not being able to afford expenses associated with long-term care (27%); savings losses do to market downturns (25%); not being able to afford healthcare costs (25%); outliving retirement savings (24%); not earning enough on investments (24%); and not earning sufficient return on retirement savings due to low interest rates (23%).
  • CPA Financial Planners were surveyed on what their clients top retirement concerns were. Of note, this is not necessarily only clients who are in retirement, but instead relates to clients they work with to plan for retirement. Running out of money was cited by 30%, maintaining current lifestyle was second at 28%, and rising healthcare costs was third at 18%.
  • The SimplyWise Retirement Confidence Index surveyed 1,154 Americans in September 2020 to determine their thoughts on a variety of retirement issues. Although the respondents were 18 or older, SimplyWise broke out some data for people in their 50s. For this group, 65% are concerned about Social Security being gone, 50% are concerned about being able to pay daily bills, 47% are concerned about affording healthcare, 46% are concerned about outliving their savings, and 33% are concerned they won't be able to retire at all.
  • A global survey by Zurich Insurance Group found that 44% of workers surveyed in 16 countries stated that having enough money for retirement was their biggest financial concern. Among respondents aged 55-70, this increased to 59%.
  • Sixty five percent of baby boomers are concerned that Social Security will not be there when they are ready to retire. This increases to 80% for millennial and 84% of Gen X.
  • According to data from the Pew Research Center, the silent generation was born from 1928 to 1945 which makes them between 74 and 91; baby boomers were born from 1946 to 1964 which would make them approximately 55-73; and Gen X was born from 1965 to 1980 which means they are between 39 and 54. Based on this, the two generations that would be most relevant to an examination of retirees and pre-retirees would be the silent generation and baby boomers.
  • A study done by the Transamerica Center provides a great deal of data on retirement issues that are a concern for people overall and for the individual generations. However, they do not appear to break out data for the silent generation.
  • The top financial fear among boomers was outliving their savings/investments (51%).

Summary of Findings

  • While there appeared to be quite a bit of publicly available data on the concerns people have about retirement, not all the information was strictly for retirees and pre-retirees, and there was also some inconsistencies across the data. For example, one source cited the lack of Social Security as a major concern, while another did not mention Social Security.
  • Looking for data on boomers and the silent generation appears to be the best way to cover the age groups of interest (retirees and pre-retirees), but there does not appear to be a great deal of publicly available information on the silent generation. Therefore, we made need to focus more heavily on baby boomers.