Money will buy you a bed, but not necessarily a good night’s sleep. Retirement confidence varies from person to person, but a new survey finds that the majority of Americans share the same worries about their financial futures.
Health and wealth are at the forefront of restlessness. According to Bankrate.com, 28% of Americans say high medical bills are their top financial concern about retirement. Making matters worse, higher income provides little comfort. Households making more than $75,000 are actually more worried about medical expenses than the overall population. Meanwhile, 23% of Americans say running out of savings is their biggest financial concern, followed by 18% who say unaffordable daily expenses. Eleven percent of Americans are most worried about having too much debt in retirement.
Working Americans also have humble expectations for Social Security. One in four respondents believe they won’t receive anything from the government program, and only 27% expect to receive at least half of their retirement income from it. This is not too surprising, given the current status of Social Security. In 2014, more than 59 million Americans received almost $863 billion in benefits. Without some type of reform, benefits will need to be cut by 23% in aggregate in 2033. In other words, after the depletion of reserves, continuing tax income is expected to be sufficient enough to pay 77% of scheduled benefits in 2033.
“The average Social Security payout is only around $15,000 per year, so people are realistic to think they’ll need to supplement that income,” said Sheyna Steiner, a senior investing analyst at Bankrate.com, in a press release. “But despite all the gloom and doom about the future of Social Security, most Americans are optimistic that they’ll get at least something from the program. That even includes millennials — 63% of them think Social Security will fund at least some of their retirement several decades from now.”
A combination of low savings and high medical bills may result in higher debt loads for retirees. A separate Bankrate report released last year found that 25% of Americans have more medical debt than emergency savings. That figure nearly doubles to 44% among people earning less than $30,000 per year. Even people who do not currently have medical debt are plagued by the thought of it. The report also finds that 55% of respondents were either very or somewhat worried they will become overwhelmed by medical debt at some point in the future.
Medical bills are such a burden to Americans that the nation’s most popular credit score provider is revising its model. FICO will change its calculations so medical collections will have a lower impact on credit scores, making it easier for consumers to obtain loans. The median FICO score for consumers whose only major negative references are medical collections will increase by 25 points. Experian estimates that more than 64 million Americans have a medical collection on their credit reports.
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