Baby Boomers Adjusted Retirement Expectations Post Recession

More Boomers feel they will rely on Social Security in retirement than before the recession.

A decade after the recession of 2007, more than half of Baby Boomers feel they have not benefitted from any recovery, according to a new study by the Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR). The survey also found that only 2% believe the economy has fully recovered. Twenty-eight percent are making more conservative investment decisions and 26% have stopped investing.

Throughout the decade, many Boomers have readjusted retirement expectations to meet this situation.  Even before the financial crisis, 45% of those with annual household income between $30,000 and $100,000 and less than $1 million in investable assets, expected to retire debt free. Today, that number stands at 34%. Two-thirds of respondents are worried about facing another financial crisis.

The study also revealed that three in 10 (34%) middle-income Boomers plan to rely on personal savings or earnings for their primary source of income in retirement, down from four in 10 before the crisis. This reliance appears to be shifting to Social Security, where four in 10 (38%) middle-income Boomers expect to rely on Social Security for their primary source of retirement income, versus three in 10 before the crisis.

According to the latest CSR report, before the crisis, 35% of middle-income Boomers expected to work full time or part-time in retirement, but today 48% expect to work full or part-time.

“Ten years ago, Baby Boomers had a clear vision of what a personally satisfying retirement looked like,” says Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. “But today, many are realizing they will not be as financially independent in retirement as they once expected.”

With pressing challenges ahead, more than eight in 10 have taken specific actions to meet their new demands: Reduced discretionary expenses (54%), reduced recurring monthly expenses (47%), and creating and maintaining a household budget (35%)

As a result, today more than half (57%) of middle-income Boomers feel confident in meeting their daily financial obligations, up from only 41% during the crisis.

Long-term financial planning, however, is still a target for many. Two in 10 middle-income Boomers now save a smaller percentage of their paycheck, nearly one quarter don’t save anything.

“Boomers should plan for any unexpected costs that can arise, especially expenses related to retirement, such as long-term care or critical illness,” says Goldberg. “Also, they should make a concerted effort to pay down debt before retiring to create more financial flexibility.”

The CSR survey “10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered” is part of a series of studies commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement. It was conducted in October 2016 by independent research firm The Blackstone Group.

The findings were from one Internet-based survey of 1,000 middle-income Boomers. Quotas were established based on the U.S. Census Current Population Survey data for age, gender and income to obtain a nationally representative sample.