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Unison: Senior Retirement Goals Unclear, Savings Insufficient

Nearly half of American homeowners, at 48%, say they plan to retire sometime in their 60s. An additional 9% plan to do so during their 50s, and 22% plan on their 70s. 5%, however, say they’ll never retire, and 11% don’t know if retirement is an option for them. These are the findings of a survey called “State of the American Homeowner,” conducted by alternative equity tapping company Unison.

More than two-thirds (68%) of American homeowners express being either “confident” or “very confident” in the amount of assets they have saved to fund their retirements, by-and-large the numbers they report do not appear to support such optimism, according to Unison.

“One in five homeowners (19%) say they don’t know how much they need to have saved by the time they retire in order to feel secure and live comfortably in retirement, and more than one-fourth of homeowners (28%) don’t know how much annual income the assets currently in their financial portfolio will generate when they retire,” the company says in a press release announcing the survey’s results.

An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (90%) specified that they think of their homes primarily as a financial asset instead of a burden, and that their homes are prominent components of their financial portfolios. However, 23% of those who believe their home is a financial asset do not know how it will be leveraged, or its equity accessed.

26% of the surveyed homeowners reveal that more than half of their total net worth is tied up in their home, while 32% say their home represents between 25-50% of their total net worth. 25% of respondents also revealed that they are planning to use their home in some way to fund their retirements.

“Among those who are planning to sell their home or tap their home’s equity to fund their retirement, home equity represents a big chunk of their retirement nest egg,” Unison says. “Of these, 17% say their home represents half or more of their retirement nest egg; 38% say their home represents 26-50% of their retirement nest egg; another 35% say it represents 5-25%.”

Additionally, many pre-retirement, working age Americans are relying on retirement funding options for their futures that may not exist in the future based on some estimates. 70% of respondents are counting on Social Security benefits, even though a previous estimate dictated that the Social Security trust fund could be depleted by 2036. 42% of respondents said they are reliant on a pension plan, even as private sector pension coverage has fallen significantly over the last 30 years.

Unison conducted the survey online between August 16 and 23, 2019, with data collection and sample provided by global online market research firm Dynata. The survey fielded its questions to 2,000 American adults who are current homeowners. Respondents were required to have a household income of at least $50,000 or above, or to have been a homeowner for at least 10 years and to have not yet reached retirement.

Read the survey results at Unison.