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A Comfortable Retirement Appears Out of Reach for Most Americans

Less than one in four think they’ll be able to save the $1.1 million they need, a survey finds.

(Bloomberg) -- American workers say it will take $1.1 million on average to retire comfortably — but less than one in four figure they’ll be able to save that much.

Just 22% of people approaching retirement age said they’ll have enough money to maintain a comfortable standard of living, according to the 2022 Schroders US Retirement Survey, down from 26% a year ago. The survey of 1,000 workers was conducted in mid-February, when the S&P 500 Index was higher than it is now.

Many Americans expect a significant shortfall in their retirement savings. Fifty-six percent said they expect to have less than $500,000 saved by the time they retire, including 36% who anticipate having less than $250,000. 

The leading concern among American workers about retirement was, not surprisingly, that inflation would shrink the value of their assets. The second most-feared event has likely become a reality, at least right now — 53% worried about “a major market downturn significantly reducing assets.” 

“The list of concerns that retirees have, and that Americans in general have, are longer and they are more serious today,” said Joel Schiffman, who oversees defined contribution products in North America for Schroders. “Inflation, the stock market, the cost of healthcare, taxes — there is this compounding effect.” 

For those already in retirement, a good chunk of people said they are comfortable, or described their situation as “not great, not bad.” But 18% said they are struggling, and 5% said retirement is a nightmare.

To afford a “dream retirement” — however one defines that — a quarter of respondents said they’d need to sacrifice what they want today, and another 25% said they just had to stay the course. But 35% of respondents between the ages of 60 and 67 said they'd have to win the lottery to make that dream a reality. 

To contact the author of this story:
Suzanne Woolley in New York at [email protected]

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