The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Workers Lack Retirement Confidence and Feel Stressed about Retirement Preparations

EBRI Issue Brief, Number 431 (March 21, 2017)

32 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2017

See all articles by Lisa Greenwald

Lisa Greenwald

Greenwald & Associates

Craig Copeland

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Jack VanDerhei

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Date Written: March 21, 2017

Abstract

This paper presents key findings from the 27th annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), a survey that gauges the views and attitudes of working-age and retired Americans regarding retirement, their preparations for retirement, their confidence with regard to various aspects of retirement, and related issues. The 2017 RCS by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates finds that six out of 10 American workers feel very or somewhat confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, though just 18 percent feel very confident. The share of workers reporting that they feel either very or somewhat confident has declined compared with last year (60 percent from 64 percent in 2016). Worker confidence now resembles levels measured in 2015 (when 59 percent were either very or somewhat confident). In addition to lacking confidence, 3 in 10 workers report that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed. These stressed workers feel less financially secure and are far less confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement than those who do not feel stressed. Another 3 in 10 workers say that they worry about their personal finances while at work (30 percent). More than half of these workers believe they would be more productive at work if they didn’t spend time worrying. Among all workers, about half say that retirement planning (53 percent), financial planning (49 percent), or health care planning (47 percent) programs would be helpful in increasing their productivity at work. Retiree confidence in having enough money for a comfortable retirement continues to exceed worker confidence levels. Seventy-nine percent of retirees report feeling either very or somewhat confident about having enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years, including one-third of retirees who feel very confident (32 percent). Workers who have a retirement plan, whether a defined contribution plan, defined benefit plan, or IRA, are far more likely to feel confident about having enough money for retirement. Indeed, they have saved more than those without a plan, have taken more steps to prepare for retirement, and feel less stressed about retirement preparations. Nearly 3 in 4 workers (73 percent) not currently saving for retirement say they would be at least somewhat likely to save for retirement if contributions are matched by their employer. Approximately two-thirds of non-saving workers say they would be likely to save for retirement if automatic paycheck deductions with the option of changing or stopping them, at either 3 percent or 6 percent of salary, were used by their employer.

Keywords: Debt, Financial Advice, Financial Education, Medicare Attitudes and Opinions, Retirement Age, Retirement Attitudes and Opinions, Retirement Expenses, Retirement Income, Retirement Plan Participation, Retirement Planning, Savings, Social Security Attitudes and Opinions

JEL Classification: D14, D31, D91, J26, J32, J33

Suggested Citation

Greenwald, Lisa and Copeland, Craig and VanDerhei, Jack, The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Workers Lack Retirement Confidence and Feel Stressed about Retirement Preparations (March 21, 2017). EBRI Issue Brief, Number 431 (March 21, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2941583

Lisa Greenwald (Contact Author)

Greenwald & Associates ( email )

4201 Connecticut Ave., NW
Suite 620
Washington, DC 20008
United States

Craig Copeland

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

1100 13th Street, NW
Suite 878
Washington, DC 20005-4204
United States
202-775-6356 (Phone)
202-775-6312 (Fax)

Jack VanDerhei

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

1100 13th Street, NW
Suite 878
Washington, DC 20005-4204
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ebri.org

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