Survey: 51% of Nonretirees Expect to Have Enough Money to Retire, 46% Don't

By Michael W. Chapman | May 9, 2018 | 3:21pm EDT

( -- In its annual survey of Americans' concerns about retirement, Gallup discovered this year that 51% of nonretirees believe they will have enough money to retire comfortably, but 46% of nonretirees think they will not have enough money. 

However, for people already in retirement, the survey found that 78% said they have enough funds to live comfortably.

In its telephone interviews of 1,015 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Gallup asked, "Nonretirees: Expect to have enough money to live comfortably when retired?" 51% said yes and 46% said no.

Back in 2002-2004, when Gallup started asking this question, "a much lower 32% to 36% of nonretirees said they wouldn't have enough money to be comfortable in retirement -- setting a benchmark so far not attained again, despite the recovering economy," reported the polling firm.


Gallup also reported that having enough funds to retire is the "top financial worry among those not retired," more important a worry than having enough money for a medical emergency.

In its analysis, Gallup said, "Current retirees may be more likely to have pensions than those still working; may have saved more in their early years; and are likely to be enjoying Social Security benefits that have been essentially unchanged for decades. Once Americans retire, they may also learn to be frugal and get by comfortably on less than they thought would be required."

"For their part, nonretirees may be estimating that the Social Security system will have its own financial problems going forward; may worry because they have no personal pensions; may be pessimistic about the nation's economic future; and are subject to a consistent message from financial experts that Americans are not saving enough," said Gallup. 

Also in the survey, Gallup asked retirees, "Do you have enough money to live comfortably, by household income?" 


For those making less than $30,000 a year in retirement, 45% said yes and 54% said no. However, for those making between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, 83% said yes, they have enough money to live comfortably; 17% said no.

Also, for those making $75,000 or more, 98% said yes and 2% said no to having enough money to live comfortably. 

"Gallup over the past 16 years has consistently found that those who are already retired are more financially comfortable than the projections of those not yet retired would seem to indicate," said the polling firm.  "No one knows what the future will bring, and retirement may not be as financially positive in the future as it has been for retirees Gallup has interviewed on a yearly basis since 2002. But over this 16-year period, the positive views of retirees appear pretty consistent."

"One reason retirees are positive about their finances may be that they can get by on less money than they thought," said Gallup.  "The significant majority of retirees who have incomes of $30,000 or more are financially comfortable. Only below the $30,000-a-year level does financial discomfort reach the majority level."

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