While confidence is rising, many fear savings will not sustain retirement: BlackRock

A wide-ranging and multigenerational survey about retirement confidence in the U.S. found that while general confidence has risen over the past year, most Americans remain concerned that their savings will not be able to keep up with their needs in retirement.

The Read on Retirement survey, conducted by BlackRock, enlisted perspectives from members of the millennial, Gen X and baby boomer generations. While there were some individualized variations to be found in regard to retirement confidence, all respondents shared anxiety about being able to fully fund their retirement.

“Multiple groups of respondents across generation and gender cohorts reported confusion about how much to save, worries about outliving savings, and uncertainty in how much income they will need in retirement,” BlackRock explained.

This helps to emphasize the commonality of retirement issues across multiple cohorts, according to Anne Ackerley, a senior retirement adviser at BlackRock.

“The journey to retirement is personal, but the challenges are shared,” she said. “Our research continues to underscore how complicated the path is for Americans when planning for retirement. This is an important moment to rethink retirement, and we are committed to convening conversations around ways we can make retirement investing simpler, more accessible, and more affordable for as many people as possible.”

One key takeaway from the survey results is the importance of access to information about retirement plans and the dynamics that inform plan choices.

“Sixty-eight percent of savers with access to a retirement plan at work believe they are on track with retirement savings, up 12% from last year, due in part to improved market conditions,” the report said. “But for those who feel off-track, long-term uncertainty about how much savings (41%) or retirement income they will need (43%) are top of mind — indicating access to better planning tools and solutions could help.”

Uncertainty was higher among those who do not have access to a workplace retirement plan, the results explained. Less than half (47%) of this cohort expressed feeling “on track” for retirement in general, which is largely consistent with findings in 2022 and 2023.

As the cohort closest to retirement, baby boomers are more reflective about their retirement efforts. Of the boomers who are still working, 67% of those surveyed answered that it would have been more beneficial to receive substantive information about savings and/or retirement plans “well before” retirement.

“While most boomers (68%) feel on track for retirement, those who don’t say uncertainty about how much to save (58%) and how much income they’ll need (51%) are factors,” the report said. “For retired boomers, 85% report that secure income makes a bigger difference than they thought it would in retirement and 94% believe employers should prioritize providing employees with secure income options through workplace plans.”

The survey also found that members of Generation X are the least confident about retirement prospects, while millennials are facing complications to their savings goals, including being saddled with credit card debt.

“While there is no one, single retirement solution that works for all, we believe providing financial resources, strategies, and tools for all Americans is a critical first step in reducing complexity for those who are clearly struggling to understand their path to retirement,” said Rob Crothers, head of U.S. retirement and global product solutions at BlackRock.

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