A Kiplinger-Alliance for Lifetime Income Poll: Americans & Retirement Security
The majority of respondents in our poll would welcome more guaranteed income.
Americans are generally upbeat about their prospects for a secure and comfortable retirement, even after feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and stock market volatility. But preretirees are less confident than those already retired about creating a secure income stream in retirement.
Those are among the conclusions of a new poll conducted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, in partnership with the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a trade group that helps educate consumers about how to protect assets in retirement.
The pandemic-induced bear market in February and March dampened the retirement investments of nearly two-thirds of respondents. And a majority (56%) of those polled say they would like more guaranteed income.
Even so, nearly three-fourths of respondents are very or somewhat confident that they can create a secure income stream, or “paycheck,” in retirement. Part of the reason: About half of preretirees and 70% of retirees in our survey receive a pension, although for more than half of them it is a modest monthly income of $2,500 or less. Women, respondents in their fifties and those with net worth of less than $500,000 are somewhat less confident about achieving a secure retirement.
We’ve included highlights from the poll here (figures are medians unless otherwise indicated).
What sources of retirement income (beyond Social Security) do you expect to receive?*
- Withdrawals from a retirement savings plan: 66%
- Pension from my employer: 50%
- Interest income from CDs and savings accounts: 39%
- Income from bonds, dividend-paying stocks or REITs: 33%
- Annuity income: 21%
- Rental income from real estate: 11%
- Income from a trust: 5%
- Other: 6%
- None: 3%
How confident are you that you have or will have enough income to live comfortably in retirement?**
- Very confident: 25%
- Somewhat confident: 48%
- Neither confident nor unconfident: 17%
- Somewhat unconfident: 8%
- Very unconfident: 3%
Do you have a plan for how you will draw down your retirement savings?
- I don’t plan to touch my principal. My living expenses will be covered by Social Security, investment income, a pension or annuity: 28%
- I plan to withdraw an amount each year that will rise or fall depending on returns: 18%
- I plan to use a rule of thumb, such as the 4% rule, as a guide: 15%
- I’m leaving it up to my financial adviser: 12%
- I plan to pay my bills from my savings, just as I do now: 11%
- No, and that worries me: 9%
- No, but I will go back to work if my money runs low: 5%
- Other: 2%
Do you work with a professional financial adviser for your retirement savings and investments?
- Yes: 50%
- No 50%
Would you be willing to put a portion of your retirement savings into an annuity that would guarantee a monthly income for the rest of your life?**
- Not sure: 35%
- No, I would not consider this: 26%
- Yes, in the future: 23%
- Yes, I have already done so: 17%
Which of the following are you very or somewhat worried about during retirement?*
- Not being able to afford long-term care if I or my spouse needs it: 65%
- Running out of money when I’m older: 58%
- Not being able to afford quality health care: 55%
- Being too cautious financially and not enjoying retirement: 53%
- Not having enough money to live comfortably: 53%
- Not being able to travel as much as I want: 45%
- Not getting a regular paycheck: 39%
- Not being able to find new activities to fill my time: 29%
- Leaving a job that I enjoy: 28%
- Having to rely on my adult children for financial support: 23%
Percentage of respondents who took (or plan to take) Social Security before full retirement age
Why did you claim Social Security benefits early?*
- I was concerned about future benefit cuts: 24%
- I needed more income: 15%
- To maximize benefits with my spouse: 15%
- I wanted to invest my benefits: 12%
- Longevity doesn’t run in my family: 11%
- I wanted to delay tapping my portfolio: 11%
- Health issues made it impossible for me to continue working: 8%
- Other: 24%
Nearly 30% of those in our survey who have an employer retirement savings plan have the option to invest a portion of their savings in an annuity. Have you done so?
- Yes: 66%
- No: 34%
We surveyed a national sampling of Americans between the ages of 50 and 75, equally divided between men and women, who had a net worth of at least $100,000. The poll was conducted from June 11 to June 13, 2020.
*Respondents were asked to choose all applicable options.
**Percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding.