Baby Boomers: 25% Have No Retirement Savings

Retirement savings numbers are falling across age groups, says a November Harris Interactive poll.

The November survey, which included 2,151 adults from around the U.S. found 34% of Americans have no retirement savings and 27% have no personal savings.

For baby boomers, many of whom are quickly nearing retirement age, 25% of those surveyed have no savings for retirement. Of those who are 65 and older, the proportion was 22%.


In terms of portfolio mix, 70% of adults said they have not changed their portfolio mix in the last six months. Eighteen percent report keeping their retirement investments mostly in stocks and mutual funds and 22% say they keep retirement funds in an equal mix of stocks/mutual funds and investments such as bonds and money market funds.

“Current economic conditions seem to be driving somewhat less risky investment behavior by Gen Xers, which goes against the grain of traditional investment advice,” said Harris Vice President of Financial Services Research, Barbara Bertner, of the findings. Those who are closer to retirement age, however, and do not have any savings, may need to seek alternative sources of income or delay retirement.

See the full survey results.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker



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  • With unemployment at 16%, a disproportionate amount of that falls on Baby Boomers and teenagers. So is it surprising that retirement savings would be dwindling for younger seniors? What are they to live on?

    This is extraordinarily hard times. This is why it is alarming when senior advocates say younger seniors should not be getting HECMs if their problem is unemployment. Yet she provides no information on what their alternatives are. That kind of admonition reminds one of Pharaoh telling the Israelites to make more bricks but they will not be supplied one of the key ingredients for brick making in that day, straw.

    As another member of the industry says about one such advocate; I am sure the advocates have the best of intentions. What Baby Boomers need are solutions not more unrealistic admonitions and being told that they do not have enough saved up for retirement. This article would have been pleasantly surprising if it provided solutions. Senior advocates seem apt at finding problems and putting down temporary solutions. Adding BCU to counseling was a big step in a positive direction.

    While reverse mortgages may not be the best overall answer, it is an answer which needs airing. It can provide temporary relief while Baby Boomers find answers to their dilemma.

  • Although this comes as no surprise to those of us who stay informed on all things Boomer, what does surprise me is how few agents who handle reverse mortgages are reaching out to the “leading edge” Boomers who would qualify for one. For example, our broadcast radio show is the only one of its kind in the nation: for/about Boomers, informative and entertaining. We have over 15K Boomer listeners nationwide (and growing quickly), yet not one RM group has gotten on board, or sponsored another Boomer-specific show (there are some internet podcasts just for Boomers) in order to market to this lucrative group. You have a targeted market just waiting to hear from you. Time to pay them a call!

    • Sheryl,

      Several of us have tried radio in the past with great disappointment.

      One even had a weekly show on a station catering strictly to seniors; Clear Channel in LA loved the show and it had great ratings with little response. It was even MCed by a radio personality.

      It would be great if you could help us find a way to find to make effective radio campaigns.

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