Financial Planning

Retirement looks less like a dream, more like a nightmare

There’s been lots of news on the retirement front lately, and none of it has been good.

First up is the second annual Global Retirement Index from Natixis Global Asset Management. The survey ranks the United States just 19th in retirement security based on factors such as retirement savings and quality of life.

“The ranking shows the impact of government debt, health care costs, inflation and income inequality on future retirement funding resources, a reality that Natixis found is increasingly shifting retiree financial security onto individuals,” Accounting Today reported.

On its own, that report would be bad enough. On the same day, though, the Government Accountability Office released a report that shows more retirees than ever are economically vulnerable, thanks to a drop in the number of retirees who are expected to receive spousal or survivor benefits — either from Social Security or private employer-sponsored pension plans — in the future.

“The report … noted that over the past 50 years, the composition and work patterns of the American household have changed dramatically,” Accounting Today reported. “During this period, the proportion of unmarried and never-married individuals in the population increased steadily as couples chose to marry at later ages and live together prior to marriage. At the same time, the proportion of single-parent households more than doubled. … Taken together, these trends have resulted in a decline in the receipt of spousal and survivor benefits and married women contributing more to household retirement savings.”

To recap: Our retirement security sucks and we’re more economically vulnerable than ever, thanks to the fact that fewer of us are getting married now.

But thanks to medical and technological advances, at least we’re living longer than ever, which means …

Oh, crap — which means we’re going to need more retirement savings to see us through our golden years. Either that or we’re going to have to work until we drop dead.

Or will we? This Money Magazine article hints that traditional formulas might “overestimate the true cost of retirement for many people by as much as 20 percent.”

But considering most Americans have less than $25,000 set aside for retirement, that might not matter.

Anyone else need a drink?

While you’re deciding, here are a few related resources you might want to check out.


Bill Sheridan