Americans Discouraged by Retirement Outlook – Survey
The Nationwide Retirement Institute Consumer Social Security PR Study, released in August 2017 and conducted by Harris Poll, reveals a discouraging outlook for many Americans when it comes to retirement and Social Security benefits.
According to the survey, only 21 percent of future retirees say life in retirement will be better, and 28 percent of recent retirees say life is worse in retirement. Retirees who say life is worse in retirement cite income (78 percent) and cost of living (76 percent) as the top reasons for their dissatisfaction. Citing high consumer expectations and low understanding of the basic elements of the Social Security program, the study underscores the need for appropriate retirement planning.
Health care costs are a particular cause for concern, and those who suffer from health problems say early onset of health problems is one issue (75 percent), with 65 percent of those saying their health declined more than five years earlier than anticipated. In addition, the expenses associated with health care keep about a quarter of retirees (24 percent) from living the retirement they expected. An average American claiming Social Security at age 62 (the minimum age for claiming benefits) could spend about 64 percent of their monthly benefits on health care costs.
The solution is to optimize Social Security by meeting with an advisor who can help retirees see their maximum benefits. Consumers crave knowledge to help combat their misconceptions, and they look to their financial advisors for information. Seventy-nine percent of future retirees who work with a financial advisor say they would switch advisors if it meant they would receive advice on maximizing Social Security benefits.
However, less than one-in-five older adults (17 percent) have received advice related to Social Security (17 percent) from a financial advisor. Adults collecting Social Security who work with an advisor report receiving hundreds of dollars more, on average, from their current Social Security payment than those that don’t ($1584 on average vs. $1290, respectively).
Tools such as Social Security calculators also can help close consumers’ knowledge gaps. More than two-in-five future retirees (41 percent) used a Social Security calculator to help estimate their benefits. The Nationwide Social Security 360 Analyzer provides a comprehensive look at Social Security filing strategies and helps position Social Security in the context of an individual’s or family’s retirement income needs.