Retirement Crisis Is Nigh
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Despite an uptick in the economy, a majority of Americans are still lagging behind in their retirement goals with 55% in fair or poor condition when it comes to having enough money to cover their expenses.
A new Fidelity Investments survey assessed whether Americans could afford basic living expense such as housing, health care and food. Only 33% of Americans reported that even during a down market they could cover 95% of their estimated expenses while 41% stating they were not on track to cover all their expenses in retirement.
Many Americans will lack enough money in their retirement portfolio, because they are not allocating enough money into their savings, said Lauren Brouhard, a senior vice president at Fidelity Investments.
"One of the most important things is that people aren't saving enough," she said. "They are not starting early enough."
While 26% of Americans are likely to face an income gap where they will have to make spending cuts in their retirement especially if the market experiences another downturn, several groups are meeting their goals.
Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) are on track to reach 81% of their goal, but they have fewer options than their younger counterparts to make up any shortfall. Gen X respondents (born 1965 to 1977) are at 71% of their goal while Gen Y respondents (born 1978 to 1988) are falling significantly short and are 62% of their goal.
"The biggest gap is the source of income and the availability of pensions for some people," said Brouhard. "People just don't really know where to get started. They just feel overwhelmed. There are many ways for people to get started and take some critical actions despite their income level or the economy."
Most individuals should increase their current savings target, she said.
"People should aim to save 10% to 15% of their income each year," Brouhard said. "Younger people need to build up that. If people can start early and do that continuously, they are going to have a much greater chance to be successful since many people will spend 25 years or longer in retirement."
Consumers should also make the most of tax���advantaged savings vehicles like 401(k)s, IRAs, Health Savings Accounts and tax���deferred annuities and consider a Roth IRA or 401(k) where contributions are after���tax but withdrawals are income tax free.
Although market behavior is unpredictable, investors can build long-term growth into their portfolio with an age-appropriate allocation to stocks. Investing too conservatively may fail to help consumers secure the growth needed to reach their goals.
Many investors have bounced back from the financial crisis and are making inroads to saving more money for retirement, she said.
"We see some more positive behavior," Brouhard said. "The problem is that it is just not enough. There are pretty simple steps to tightening your belt. They are really important to improve your projections for the future."