A Kiplinger-ATHENE Poll: Retirees Are Worried About Money

Concerns about recession, inflation and health care costs weigh on retirees and near retirees.

Two people look worried while on a computer and the telephone.
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A bear market accompanied by market volatility has led to shifting perceptions of what constitutes a secure retirement, according to a new national poll by Kiplinger and retirement services company Athene. Top concerns of retirees and near-retirees include a possible recession, the financial security of Social Security, the cost of health care and inflation.

A majority of respondents say that having more guaranteed income in retirement would ease their concerns about running out of money. Even so, an overwhelming majority of current retirees report high levels of satisfaction and happiness. And retirees are generally confident about their financial future, with 70% reporting they expect to have enough income to live comfortably, and 66% saying they are confident they will not run out of money in retirement. However, preretirees are less sanguine. Less than 55% of respondents not yet retired expressed confidence that they will not run out of money at some point.

The poll targeted retirees and pre-retirees with a net worth of at least $100,000; the respondents’ median household net worth (excluding primary residence) was $369,979 for retirees and $322,506 for pre-retirees. The relatively high net worth is one likely reason financial confidence in this survey is higher than reflected in other retirement-confidence surveys.

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Retirees are a bit more positive about stock market volatility than preretirees. Nearly half (49%) of retirees are concerned that stock market volatility could cause serious economic hardship in retirement (versus 64% of preretirees). Some 68% of retirees say they are doing nothing (and waiting) in response to volatility this year (versus 60% of preretirees).

Among retired respondents, 83% have already claimed Social Security benefits, with a mean claiming age of 63. For 43% of these respondents, Social Security provides 50% or more of their annual retirement income. Top sources of stable income for current retirees (beyond Social Security) include an employer pension; income from bonds, dividend-paying stocks and REITs; CDs and savings accounts; and annuities. More highlights from the poll:

Are you worried about the following economic issues in retirement?

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(Image credit: Kiplinger)

Are you concerned that inflation could cause serious economic hardship for you in retirement?

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(Image credit: Kiplinger)

How confident are you that you will not run out of money in retirement?*

graphic of poll results

(Image credit: Kiplinger)

Which of the following things would you worry less about if more of your retirement income were guaranteed?

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(Image credit: Kiplinger)

Which of the following strategies most closely matches how you currently withdraw or plan to withdraw money from your retirement savings each year?*

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(Image credit: Kiplinger)

Which of the following sources of income do you receive or expect to receive at some point?†

graphic of poll results

(Image credit: Kiplinger)

Methodology

We surveyed 818 Americans ages 50 and older (about evenly split between retirees and preretirees). Respondents had a net worth of at least $100,000, and the median household net worth (excluding primary residence) was $369,979 for retirees and $322,506 for preretirees. About half of the respondents were men and half women. The poll was conducted by Qualtrics from June 21 to June 24, 2022. The margin of error is 3.4% with a 95% confidence level.

*Figures do not add up to 100% due to rounding.

†Respondents were asked to select all that apply.