Retirement Realities Hitting Boomer Bottom Line

August 26, 2002 ( - Tumbling markets and rising heathcare costs may finally be sinking in to participants, according to a new survey.

More than half (52%) of the respondents to the Second Annual Allstate “Retirement Reality Check” Survey say they are worried about not having enough money for retirement – roughly twice the 29% that acknowledged those concerns just a year ago.


And no wonder.   Boomers tallied in the survey noted that their average retirement savings had dropped some 22.5% during those 12 months, falling from nearly $120,000 in 2001 to $93,000 in 2002.


Health Hikes


Healthcare concerns also spiked, jumping from 39% a year ago to 67% in the new survey, even as employers are asking workers to accept a larger share of costs that have been surging ahead at double-digit rates of late.


The survey also tracked some differences in perception along gender lines.   For example, when it comes to fears about retirement, female Boomers were more worried about not having enough money (55% versus 48% of men), Social Security disappearing (54% versus 40% of men), and getting sick (52% compared with 45% of men).   Women traditionally show up as more fiscally conservative in such surveys – and they also live longer, which may contribute to the concern.


Debt “Lode”


The survey found that while 74% of surveyed Boomers say they are financially prepared for retirement, and a majority say they know how much money they will need, they also plan to carry debt into retirement – and more than 1 in 4 say they will still be paying off a mortgage (27%).  


Other planned debt carryovers include:

  • 36% – car payments
  • 28% – credit cards

Among surveyed Baby Boomers who have not yet saved for retirement, nearly two-thirds (64%) say that they cannot afford to save for retirement at this time – although 53% say they are planning to start at a later date.


Still, two out of three (66%) survey respondents feel they have enough knowledge to make appropriate financial decisions on their own.


Leisure Spending


However, in addition to regular living expenses – and potentially extraordinary healthcare expenses – survey respondents estimate they will spend close to $13,700 each year of their retirement on leisure activities like reading, exercising, and vacationing by car or motor home.  


Male Boomers said they look forward to participating in outdoor activities during their retirement, such as fishing or golf, while female Boomers anticipate home-based activities such as reading and gardening.