The Bleak Retirement Outlook For Displaced Workers
If you thought that Americans as a whole were unprepared for a secure retirement, you should see the ones who have lost their job.
A report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies finds many unemployed and underemployed workers have been dipping into their retirement accounts to fund their regular expenses. In addition, the retirement savings for many of those workers in their 40s and 50s is virtually non-existent.
A dire situation for displaced workers
The report, titled The Cracked Nest Egg, is part of the 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. Its findings paint a bleak picture for workers who lost their jobs during the recent recession.
"The Great Recession has led to a potentially devastating impact on the retirement outlook of American workers who have become unemployed or underemployed," said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in a statement. "Many have raided retirement accounts to make ends meet -- and it will be difficult for them to overcome these savings setbacks once they regain employment."
Among the center's findings:
- 35 percent of displaced workers have withdrawn money from retirement savings despite the taxes and penalties that may apply
- 63 percent of unemployed workers and 34 percent of underemployed workers have withdrawn money from a 401(k) account
- 51 percent have taken money from their savings accounts
- 31 percent have used credit cards to pay bills
- 24 percent have asked friends and family for loans
In addition, 30 percent report being without health insurance, placing their finances at risk should they have a medical emergency or serious illness.
Retirement savings: How low can they go?
Perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of the Transamerica report is just how little most displaced workers have in their retirement savings. The estimated median retirement savings for these households was $5,800. Among middle-age individuals, the amount was even lower.