Study: Americans Overconfident about Retirement Financial Situation

March 17, 2005 ( - Although 70% of Americans are confident about their future retirement financial situation, much of this confidence may be overoptimistic, according to a recent study.

Despite the high levels of confidence, only 47% of Americans have actually estimated how much money they will need in retirement, according to the study from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Only 49% regularly monitor their retirement assets, as well.

“Our survey reveals too many Americans are operating in the dark when it comes to retirement planning,” said Nikki Sorum, Thrivent Financial senior vice president of marketing and products, in a press release. “Confidence needs to be built on real needs such as determining one’s financial needs and then developing a strategy for reaching those goals.”

The study indicates that 26% of Americans have saved less than $5,000 for retirement; not surprisingly however, younger workers (18 to 34) are the most likely to have saved so little, with 39% of this group having saved less than this amount. Those with incomes below $35,000 also are more likely to be in this group, with 43% having saved less than $5,000. However, 20% of those between 50 and 64 and one in seven with incomes over $75,000 annually have saved less than $5,000.

There is some worry about retirement, however, Twenty-two percent claimred that they are worried about retirement financials, with 4% claiming they are in a “panic”. Even those with over $75,000 in annual income are worried (23%) and panicked (2%).

The study was conducted for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a Fortune 500 financial services group, of 661 non-retired American workers.