Study Suggests Pre-Retirement Fears Overblown

A string of recent surveys have found Americans don't expect to retire on time and worry they won't have enough saved to fund their "Golden Years." But a new report suggest those fear may be overblown.

A string of recent surveys have found Americans don’t expect to retire on time and worry they won’t have enough saved to fund their “Golden Years.”

But a new report suggest those fear may be overblown.

The study, by MassMutual Retirement Services, found most retirees now consider their pre-retirement concerns about financial insecurity, boredom, or lack of purpose to be unfounded.

“Retirees express positive sentiments about their lives despite that nearly half (45%) retire earlier than planned,” said Mathew Greenwald, president and CEO of Greenwald Associates, which conducted the study for MassMutual.

Among those 45% who retired earlier than expected, nearly half (44%) cited work changes as the cause of the early retirement. Another 39% said they retired sooner because they could afford to.

Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) said they had no regrets about retiring early, Greenwald said.

When it comes to finances, the survey found 44% of pre-retirees expressed fears about financial uncertainty. Only 31% of actual retirees expressed the same fear. Nearly a third of pre-retirees (31%) said they worry about what they’ll do with their time after they leave their jobs, but only 14% of actual retirees shared the concern.

In fact, 18% of retirees reported being surprised by how busy and active they have been in retirement. Only 17% said they were surprised by financial problems in retirement.

Still, MassMutual said the best way to ensure a happy to retirement is to plan for it.

“MassMutual’s research on retirees and pre-retirees tells us that retirement can be and should be an extraordinarily happy time in our lives as long as we start to strengthen our emotional bonds and exercise financial planning discipline well before we plan to retire,” said Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual Retirement Services.

The survey included 1,817 pre-retirees and retirees who were at least 40 years old or had been retired for 1-15 years. All respondents had at least $50,000 in savings and investments.