Recent Retirees are Cash-Strapped but Satisfied

November 10, 2004 ( - A new study by Putnam Investments shows that recently retired Americans are often cash-strapped and worried about finances, but still are overwhelmingly satisfied with their new life.

About one in five of the 2,000 respondents to the survey state that they are struggling financially, according to the survey. The average household income is $49,000, with the median household income coming in even lower at $34,000. Forty-one percent claim that they are worried that they will outlive their retirement savings, yet 84% of people who retired in the last two to six years state that they are satisfied with their new life status.

The study also shows where recent retirees are garnering their retirement savings. Defined benefit plans represent an average of 24% of retirement savings, while self-directed retirement plans, combined with other sources of investments and savings, only make up 11%. Social Security provides for 41% of retirement income, by far the largest single source for retirement funds.

Planning seems to increase with assets, the survey also suggests. Only 16% of recent retirees have a written financial plan. Not surprisingly, the number of people using financial advisors correlates with the amount of assets owned. Of those with over $500,000 net worth, 54% use financial advisors, while only 16% of those with less than $150,000 utilize such services.

The study also shows a clear correlation between income and health. For those who say their health is poor, the average household income is $28,000. For those who claim excellent health, the average household income is $65,000.

Besides being on the whole satisfied with their current situation, 70% of recent retirees wish they had saved more, while 59% stated that they wished they had starting saving at a younger age.

To get a free leaflet on the survey, please visit . The study was conducted for Putnam by Brightwork Partners in August 2004.