Americans, Even Those Already Retired, Could Do More to Secure Their Financial Future

Debt affects many retired Americans and fear of the stock market is affecting those not yet retired, a survey finds.

A survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older would indicate that many are not doing enough to secure their financial future.

The 2018 Retirement in America Survey from First National Bank of Omaha found 38% of people who have yet to retire have not started saving for retirement. In addition, 69% have not calculated how much money they will need for retirement, while 65% prioritize getting out of debt over investing for retirement.

Specifically, 38% of people who have yet to retire said they do not regularly contribute to a 401(k) or IRA, while 37% contribute to a 401(k) only, 8% to an IRA only and 17% to both. In addition, 18% of retirees said they do not have an investment portfolio. Of those that do, 22% check their investment portfolio monthly, 19% quarterly, 14% weekly, 13% daily, 7% yearly, 2% every few years and 4% never.

Debt affects many retired Americans. The survey found 37% of retirees are still paying off a mortgage, 29% are paying off auto loans, 15% are paying off medical debt and 8% are paying student debt.

And, fear of the stock market is affecting many of those not yet retired. Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents who have yet to retire indicated they believe it’s likely there will be another recession within the next five years, and 14% have gone as far as to take their money out of the stock market because of this.

Interestingly, the survey found 19% of retirees were older than 50 when they started saving for retirement, while 35% were younger than 30, 30% were between 30 and 40 and 16% were between 41 and 50.

The most popular way for retirees to stay informed about matters related to retirement is their financial adviser (43%). For people who have yet to retire, it is online research (43%).

“Many Americans—retirees themselves as well as people who have yet to retire—are not taking all the steps they can that will ultimately allow them to make the most of their golden years,” says David Janus, senior vice president, wealth management, First National Bank of Omaha.