This Year’s Biggest Worries About Retirement

You plan for it, you dream about it, you look forward to it. But are you ready for it? Will you have the kind of retirement you’ve always wanted, or are there still some nagging questions? The 2021 Retirement Readiness Survey from the Insured Retirement Institute found that one-third to almost one-half of older U.S. workers have lingering questions.

The survey interviewed 1,000 U.S. workers between the ages of 40 and 73. The report says, “Most workers have not saved enough to bridge the gap between what Social Security will provide and what their savings can generate, especially as so many plan to retire before (Social Security) full retirement age.”

The survey found 6 specific areas where many workers are not confident in their retirement prospects.


Recovering from a market correction

Only 29% said they were confident they could recover financially if there was a major decline in the stock market. The two most confident demographics were on opposite ends of the spectrum. 37% of workers between the ages of 40-45 think they have plenty of time to recover from a major market drop before retirement. Workers ages 67-73 think they can survive a drastic market decrease because they are not as heavily invested in risky assets, and would probably not take as big a hit during drastic market conditions.


Having enough money for medical care

Collectively, 42% of respondents believe they’ll have enough money to pay for medical expenses during retirement. However, only 24% of those between 67-73 think they’ll have enough. That’s a legitimate concern, considering Medicare covers only 80% of approved medical costs, which do not include dental, vision, hearing, prescription drugs and long-term care.


Having enough money for long-term care

67% of those surveyed do not believe they’ll have enough money to pay for long-term care if they need it. According to Genworth, one of the leading providers of long-term care insurance, here are median monthly costs for various types of long-term care:

  • Homemaker Services                         $4,481
  • Home Health Aide                         $4,576
  • Adult Day Healthcare                         $1,603
  • Assisted Living Facility                         $4,300
  • Nursing Home Facility (semi-private room) $7,756
  • Nursing Home Facility (private room) $8,821


Having enough retirement income

In this category, 44% of those interviewed were confident they would have enough retirement income. But one-third in this survey plan to retire before the age of 65, which begs the question, do they know they will receive a permanently reduced Social Security benefit by retiring before Full Retirement Age (FRA)? Full Retirement Age is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954. FRA incrementally increases to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

According to the survey, workers “may have retirement income expectations that are unrealistic.” Unless they’ve done their homework, people thinking about retiring early may not know about a reduced Social Security if they retire before FRA and therefore, may end up with less retirement income than they’re planning on.


If you want to know what your benefit will be if you retire before your FRA, set up a My Social Security Account at


Having enough money to live independently

Losing your independence is always high on the list of retirement concerns. After all, no one wants to be dependent on others. We’ve spent a lifetime being independent, doing what we want and going where we want.  In this year’s survey, 44% believe they’ll have enough money to live an independent retirement lifestyle. There’s a slight increase in confidence among worker ages 56-61. Among that age group, 49% are confident they can make it happen.

Questions about independent living are legitimate. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 70% of people living to age 65 and beyond will need some type of long-term care before they die.


Being well prepared for retirement

Overall, 43% feel good about being ready for retirement. However, 67% wish they’d started saving for retirement sooner and 65% wish they had saved more. One-third of respondents are saving less than 5% of their income, which the Insured Retirement Institute calls inadequate.

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