Plans to Work Longer Not Panning Out

September 16, 2013 ( – Nearly half of Americans (49%) in their prime retirement-planning years believe they will need to work longer than anticipated to save enough to retire.

Yet more than half (58%) of those ages 70 and younger who have already left the work force did so earlier than planned, according to PNC Financial Services Group’s Perspectives of Retirement survey.

About four in 10 (42%), which the survey refers to as “Planners,” consider themselves to be on track in their preparation for retirement. About one-third (35%), dubbed “Procrastinators,” recognize the need to prepare, but acknowledge they have put it off. A final group, tagged “Avoiders” (23%), admit they are well behind on their retirement planning.

The result is an almost three-year difference in expected retirement age when each group wants to retire. The Planners group expects to retire, on average, at 65.7 years, while the Avoiders believe they have to wait until an average age of 68.2.

Good fiscal habits play a role in successful planning, the survey showed. Of the Planners, 79% have made a habit of participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, compared with just 39% of Avoiders.

PNC’s survey also revealed that women have more doubt than men about their ability to achieve a secure retirement. More than half of women (51%), compared with 40% of men, agree with the statement “I’m afraid I may not be able to retire.” Slightly less than four in 10 women (38%), compared with 48% of men, believe they are prepared for retirement, while 79% of men and 70% of women say they have made saving for retirement a habit.

Other findings in the survey include:

  • On average, those not yet retired plan to do so by the time they are 67 years old and expect they will need to fund retirement for 21.5 years;
  • The most frequently named “burning question” about retirement saving is how to consider health care expenses, named by half (50%) of adults in prime retirement-planning years;
  • Of those 70 or younger who are already retired, more than half (58%) retired before they had planned, with 40% retiring early because of health-related issues and 26% because of issues with their employer—typically forced early retirement or layoffs;
  • Four of 10 (45%) say they will rely most on either their employer’s retirement plan or Social Security for their retirement income, while another four in 10 (44%) say they will expect to be either entirely or mostly responsible for their retirement savings; and
  • Sixty-four percent of retirees report receiving a pension, and nearly half (45%) say their pension provides a large contribution to their retirement. However, of those not retired and still working, only 43% have a pension.

A report about the survey is here.