Is True Retirement an Outdated Concept?

New research shows that investment savings and financial security, rather than age, now determine when near-retirees feel ready to retire. Despite improving economic conditions, Maritz Research’s recent Retirement Study marks $500,000 as the tipping point at which people feel comfortable to retire, and many American workers are worried they won’t be able to afford retirement.

Maritz Research collected responses from 1,000 participants in December 2012 — 500 recent retirees, and 500 near-retirees, all with at least $100,000 in savings.

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Not only did the study yield interesting results about the financial point at which workers feel prepared to retire, but its report also demonstrates the difference near-retirees have in attitude compared to recent retirees. The near-retirees indicated more anxiety over their immediate future — whether they’d have enough money to last them through retirement and cover their increased healthcare expenses — compared to the 79 percent of recent retirees who claimed to feel optimistic about their future financial security.

The results of the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, the nation’s longest-running annual retirement survey put on by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, illustrated different numbers, but similar trends in attitudes when it released its report in March. The RCS is a random, nationally representative survey of 1,000 individuals age 25 and over, and it, too, reported “a sharp decline in Americans’ confidence about their ability to secure a financially comfortable retirement.”  Thirteen percent of workers reported feeling confident in their ability to have enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years, compared to that of the 18 percent of retirees that share that confidence. Thus, as indicated by Maritz Research’s study, retirees tended to foster more confidence in their prospective futures than workers did.