MetLife: Pre-Retirees, Retirees Feeling Financially Comfortable

June 21, 2005 ( - While surveys of younger Americans typically find that most feel financially unprepared for retirement, a new poll of those on the cusp of retirement or already in it found a much higher comfort level.

A MetLife news release said the MetLife survey of Americans between the ages of 59 and 71 found that 83% of pre-retirees and nine of 10 retirees are certain they will have enough saved to live comfortably until they are 85.

The majority of those in the age group studied have, or anticipate, multiple sources of guaranteed income to carry them through retirement, including: Social Security (79% retirees, 91% pre-retirees) and company pension plans (69% retirees, 71% pre-retirees), as well as annuities, the survey found. Nearly one-third (31%) of retirees surveyed say that they receive retirement income from annuities and half of pre-retirees (50%) expect income from annuities in their first year of retirement.

Further, many pre-retirees and retirees are not as informed as they should be about their longevity risk and have not taken steps to make certain that they will have enough money to last throughout their lifetime, MetLife found. Pollsters found that a third (34%) of pre-retirees have not even figured out how much monthly income they will need in retirement.

Those in the 59 to 71 age group tend to focus on short-term rather than long-term issues so while many of the pre-retirees and retirees surveyed worry at least once a month about a rise in the cost of medical care (50% pre-retirees, 40% retirees) and a drop in the stock market (44% pre-retirees, 39% retirees), fewer are concerned about longer-term problems such as outliving their retirement savings (19% pre-retirees, 16% retirees) or needing to provide care to a family member who becomes chronically ill (24% pre-retirees, 22% retirees), the survey found. In fact, one-third of retirees (37%) never worry about running out of money in retirement and another 35% fret about this less than once a year.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) pre-retirees expect to spend less in retirement than they did during the years leading up to retirement, yet most retirees (51%) say they spend about the same and 19% spend more. On the income front, nearly half (48%) of the pre-retirees who anticipate receiving Social Security expect their Social Security payouts to equal 30% or more of their pre-retirement income, yet among retirees who receive it, only one-third (37%) currently receive payouts of this size.
  • More than half of pre-retirees (55%) and retirees (53%) have part of their assets in annuities. Some 12% of pre-retirees and 15% of retirees have rolled over assets from a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan to purchase an annuity.

The MetLife Retirement Income Decision Study: The Silent Generation Speaks was conducted for the MetLife Mature Market Institute by Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc, during the first quarter of 2005 and consisted of a 14-minute online survey with a total of 1,012 respondents – 503 pre-retirees and 509 retirees.