Thirty-nine percent of respondents to a new survey who were aged 70 to 79 said they plan to rely on Social Security in retirement “a lot, as a lifeline to keep me afloat,” suggesting both challenges and opportunities ahead for senior living operators.
An additional one-third (33%) in that age group who participated in TD Ameritrade’s “Road to Retirement Survey” said they plan to rely on Social Security “some,” and 27% said “a little, as a cushion when I need it.” Only 1% said they did not plan to rely on Social Security at all.
The poll also shows just how wide the retirement savings range is among Americans aged 70 to 79 years.
The largest share of those in that age group who participated in the survey said they have saved $100,000 to $500,000 for retirement, with 36% reporting savings in this range. The next biggest group, however, had less than $50,000 saved for retirement (20%). Nineteen percent had $500,000 to $999,000 saved, 13% had $50,000 to $99,000 saved, and 12% had more than $1 million saved.
Thirty-four percent of respondents gave their current retirement savings efforts the letter grade of “B,” and 28% gave their efforts a “C.” Only 20% said their savings rated an “A,” whereas 11% gave themselves a “D,” and 6% gave themselves an “F.”
When asked, “When it comes to finances and retirement planning, what advice would you give to your younger self?” ranking last out of 12 options was “Save up for healthcare costs,” with 31% of respondents aged 70 to 79 choosing that option. The most popular advice was to start saving earlier in life (75%), pay off debt as soon as possible (67%), start investing earlier in life (65%) and always have an emergency fund (61%).
The Harris Poll, on behalf of TD Ameritrade, conducted the online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults aged 40 to 79 — 500 people in each of the four decades of living — in August and September. All participants had at least $25,000 in investable assets.
Other findings among the 70-to-79 age group:
- Of those who had not retired, the target retirement age was 75, and 82% expected that they would be able to do so. Sixty percent of respondents that age, however, said they would retire today if they had the financial means to do so. Sixty-eight percent in the age group said they had a “well-defined” strategy for retirement.
- Forty-seven percent said they had changed their retirement savings plans one or two times, and 38% said they had changed those plans three to five times. The most common triggers for the changes were market events (21%), new opportunities in the market (19%), career events (18%), health events (17%) and family events (16%).
- Before retirement, to prepare for a potentially longer life span, those aged 70 to 79 said they are planning to or had reduced their overall expenses to save more (43%), sought help from a financial adviser on how to plan (30%) and secured life insurance or maximized contributions to retirement accounts (25% each), among other strategies.
- During retirement, to prepare for a potentially longer life span, those aged 70 to 79 said they are planning to or had reduced their overall expenses (57%), taken less out of retirement accounts (26%) or sought help from a financial adviser on how to plan (23%), among other strategies.