Number of people at risk of running short on money in retirement increases

The housing and financial crisis pushed between 4 percent and 14 percent of Americans who otherwise would have had adequate income to cover basic expenses in retirement into becoming “at risk” of running short, according to a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

According to the EBRI analysis, the likelihood of becoming at risk because of the economic downturn depends on a large extent on the size of the retirement account balances the household had.  The resulting percentages of households that would not have been “at risk” without the 2008/2009 crisis that ended up “at risk” vary from a low of 3.8 percent to a high of 14.3 percent, EBRI found.

In order to make up for their losses from the crisis, EBRI estimates they would need to save an additional amount between one and 4 percent of compensation each year between now and retirement age.  However, the answer to that question varies greatly and depends on several key factors, such as the size of account balances and exposure to the equity market; proximity of the household to retirement age (the closer to retirement age, the fewer years of additional savings are possible); the relative level of preretirement income; and the desired probability of adequate retirement income.

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“The impact of the 2008/2009 financial crisis affected people in many different ways, and this study helps to show which groups were affected and how much more they’ll need to save in order to recover,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI’s director of research and author of the report.

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To view a copy of the report, see here.

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  • I do not believe that this statement is correct: “In order to make up for their losses from the crisis, EBRI estimates they would need to save between one and 4 percent of compensation each year between now and retirement age.” The study advises that such savings must be in excess of whatever otherwise was going to be saved. In other words, workers need to “double down” on their retirement savings.

    These are tough times. More seniors need to look to their homes as a future source of retirement financing.

  • I do not believe that this statement is correct: “In order to make up for their losses from the crisis, EBRI estimates they would need to save between one and 4 percent of compensation each year between now and retirement age.” The study advises that such savings must be in excess of whatever otherwise was going to be saved. In other words, workers need to “double down” on their retirement savings.

    These are tough times. More seniors need to look to their homes as a future source of retirement financing.

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