Marketing

Baby Boomers Less Optimistic About Retirement

Pessimism fueled by poor economy, boomers' declining health.

August 23, 2011
KEYWORDS boomers , retirement
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

The declining economy and the aging process are making baby boomers less optimistic about retirement, according to “Baby Boomers Envision What’s Next,” a report from AARP.

Some 76 million boomers are headed toward their retirement years—the oldest turn 65 this year, AARP reports. As they approach retirement, boomers are less confident about their ability to finance their retirement with their own savings or pensions, they’re more likely to rely on Social Security, their health is declining, and they anticipate working longer for the additional income.

Although most boomers (60%) are at least “fairly optimistic” about retirement, that’s down 10 percentage points from 1998. Plus, 26% of respondents have become more pessimistic in the last five years, primarily due to the economy.

Compared to 1998, more boomers (44%) won’t be able to afford to do what they want during retirement (up 10 percentage points), 36% won’t be able to afford to retire (up 12 percentage points), and 33% will struggle to make ends meet (up 10 percentage points).

The AARP report segments boomer retirees into five segments:

1. Self Reliants (22%). This group is optimistic and affluent, and will rely on personal investments to finance retirement. Many will continue to work for the enjoyment of it.

2. Enthusiasts (10%).This group also is optimistic and affluent. It looks forward to retirement and is satisfied with its retirement savings. People in this group are most likely to be married.

3. Traditionalists (26%). Cautiously optimistic, this segment will continue to work for the money. It is favorable toward and intends to rely on Social Security and Medicare.

4. Anxious (22%). This group has lower income and education and is less favorable about retirement and finances. It is especially concerned about health issues.

5. Strugglers (20%). This is the least optimistic group, and has the lowest levels of income, education, and retirement savings. It is the most likely to have suffered job loss, serious illness, the death of a spouse, and other adverse life events.

Only 23% of boomers believe they need more information to help them prepare for retirement, down from 30% in 1998. That’s despite the fact that their knowledge of critical information may be limited—evidenced by the fact that most boomers don’t know the age at which Social Security benefits are available.

Only one third of boomers (34%) say they often discuss retirement with family or friends.

View the full survey here [pdf].

Post a comment to this story

heroes

What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive