Survey: Americans Unable, Unwilling to Complete Retirement Projections

November 19, 2002 ( - Only a third of Americans are very confident they will be able to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, but nearly half (41%) haven't attempted a retirement savings assessment - and another 41% have tried, but couldn't finish the calculation.

That was the conclusion of a recent study by the National Retirement Planning Coalition (NRPC), a group of financial industry and advocacy organizations.

According to the NRPC, the findings also suggest that many Americans don’t know how to develop comprehensive retirement plans on their own, and often require some type of professional assistance.

Key survey findings include:

  • The average respondent expects to spend at least 19 years in retirement. A long retirement requires a significant amount of savings, even if inflation remains modest over this extended period of time, Pew researchers pointed out.
  • Survey respondents indicate that they expect to need 60% of pre-retirement income to live comfortably, yet most retirement planning professionals recommend 75% to 90% for adequate retirement income, Pew said.
  • Only one-third of respondents are very confident that they will be able to maintain the lifestyle they want through retirement years. Even many upper-income respondents, with earnings of at least $100,000 per year and nearing retirement, are behind track in accumulating the resources to generate retirement income.

The study, conducted in August 2002., consisted of a telephone survey of 500 respondents among Americans between the ages of 40 and 65.