Apr 25, 2019
Many Expect their Retirement Assets to be Insufficient, Says AARP Survey
Low Confidence that Savings and Social Security Will Cover Living Expenses
Fifty-nine percent of those polled by AARP said it was only “somewhat likely” to “not at all likely” that the combination of their savings, investments and Social Security benefits would be sufficient to cover their financial needs throughout retirement.

WASHINGTON—Emphasizing the urgency for more people to take steps now to address future financial shortfalls, AARP today released a survey that indicates that a majority of U.S. adults may be at risk of a retirement savings gap. 

Fifty-nine percent of those polled by AARP said it was only “somewhat likely” to “not at all likely” that the combination of their savings, investments and Social Security benefits would be sufficient to cover their financial needs throughout retirement. This included more women (67 percent) than men (51 percent). Only 41 percent of all respondents said their retirement assets are “very” or “extremely” likely to pay for their needs through retirement.

The AARP survey is in line with a recent updated report from the U.S. General Accounting Office that found most households approaching retirement have low amounts of savings. When polled about their “biggest financial mistakes” in the AARP survey, respondents said their most common mistakes related to not saving enough.

“The situation is serious, but not one that can’t be improved,” said AARP Financial Ambassador Jean Chatzky. “No matter your circumstance, there are resources available to help almost anyone take simple steps to improve your finances, start a savings plan and get into the habit of putting away money on a regular basis.”

Savings and planning tools that are available from AARP include:

  • AceYourRetirement.org, a site sponsored by AARP and the Ad Council that breaks down the retirement savings process into easy, actionable steps. After answering a few questions about their savings and goals, each user receives a personalized action plan that highlights three practical next steps.
  • AARP’s Money Essentials webpage; it offers advice about saving, living on a budget, managing debt and other topics.
  • The Social Security Resource Center, which provides answers to questions about when to claim, how to maximize benefits and other Social Security essentials.
  • Closing the Savings Gap™, a new AARP podcast hosted by Chatzky, that profiles women who are facing a retirement savings gap and matches each with a financial planner who helps them solve common challenges in retirement planning.
  • Work, career and employment advice to help you maximize your earning potential.

Among other findings in the AARP survey:

  • 60 percent of respondents said they had made a New Year’s resolution or goal related to saving money during 2019 – more than had made resolutions about losing weight, increasing their fitness or getting better organized.
  • Yet, among those who made a savings resolution, 51 percent of the women and 35 percent of the men reported that they have not saved as much as they planned.
  • Of those, 61 percent said unexpected expenses and 20 percent said a decrease in income – due to unemployment or a business slowdown – were the reasons they are not meeting their savings goal.
  • Women expressed more financial regrets than men across a wider range of areas.

For full survey results, access the research report, Financial Resolutions, Mistakes and Accomplishments.

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Survey Methodology

Online survey via AARP’s online panel, with sample targeting panelists age 35 or older. Interviewing Dates: March 8-15, 2019. Weighting: The data is weighted to the 35+ population by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, region, work status and income. Questionnaire length: 5 minutes (median). For additional methodology detail, access the survey report.

About Jean Chatzky

Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney Media, is host of the HerMoney with Jean Chatzky podcast. She is an award-winning personal finance journalist and best-selling author who believes that knowing how to manage money is one of the most important life skills for people at every age. Chatzky has made it her mission to help simplify money matters and increase financial literacy for all individuals, both now and in the future.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

For further information: Mark Bagley, 202-434-2560, mbagley@aarp.org, @AARPmedia