Survey: Americans Not Ready to Retire

June 30, 2003 ( - Despite years of drum-banging about the need for sufficient retirement savings, most Americans will still fall short of the goal of having enough money on which to live after they stop working.

That was the bottom line of a recent survey from the GE Center for Financial Learning called Saving During Uncertain Times. According to the survey conducted by Goodmind, LLC, Americans are at serious risk of outliving their retirement savings – endangering what should be their golden years.

Only 11% of those surveyed correctly identified the average life expectancy for someone 65 years old today to be over 85, with most under by at least five years. Not only that, 57% of survey respondents over the age of 55 say they have no idea how they’re going to fund their retirement and 34% plan to work during retirement to pay their bills.

Additional survey findings include that 39% did not believe saving 10% from each paycheck during four decades of work would be enough to fund 20 years of retirement. This is the case even though 31% save 5% or less from each paycheck, 19% know someone who has outlived their retirement or pension, 20% of all Americans have used their savings to get by this year, and only 31% think they will have enough money for retirement.

Weaknesses in financial education were clearly evident in the survey with 51% of respondents saying they don’t know how to fund their retirement. This lack of preparedness isn’t concentrated among a single demographic; people of all income brackets are being affected. For example, 48% of those who earn $100,000 or more annually do not know how to fund their retirement and 25% of that same group used savings to get by this year.

For more information about the GE Center for Financial Learning go to .