In addition to feeling unprepared for their own retirement,
older Americans are uncertain about their ability to help with
college expenses for their children or long-term care costs for
their aging parents. Those are a few of the findings from a
report published this month
by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).
This year marks the third time the institute has surveyed
boomers regarding their retirement confidence, and each year
confidence levels have dropped. This year's IRI report found that
only 37 percent of boomers feel confident in their retirement
Boomers planning to work longer
Retirement confidence has been on the decline since 2011 when 44
percent of those surveyed were feeling confident. In addition, 61
percent don't believe their finances will get any better in the
next five years.
Boomers who are already retired are feeling a little more
confident than their working counterparts, but even retirees appear
to be nervous about their future. Less than half of retired boomers
-- 46 percent -- say they are confident in their ability to live
comfortably in retirement. Among those still in the workforce, the
number expressing confidence drops to 32 percent.
Perhaps in an effort to shore up their finances, more boomers
say they are planning to
delay their retirement
. In 2011, only 11 percent of respondents said they expected to
work until age 70. That number jumped to 18 percent for the 2013
survey. Overall, more than one in five boomers say they will be
delaying their retirement.
It isn't just paying for retirement that has boomers nervous.
The IRI study also found most of those surveyed question whether
they will be able to pay for other pending expenses.
- 69 percent say they are not confident in their ability to pay
children's college expenses
- 75 percent say they are not confident in their ability to pay
their parent's long-term care expenses
Retirement coping strategies
However, the report isn't all bad news. The IRI found boomers
who sought out professional help were more likely to feel confident
about their future.
"The silver lining to this report is that boomers who work with
a financial professional are much more confident in their
retirement plans," said Cathy Weatherford, IRI CEO and president,
in a written statement. "They also are more likely to have
determined a retirement savings goal, more likely to have
retirement savings, and more engaged with their retirement
Of those who consulted with a financial advisor, 48 percent said
they were very or extremely confident in their retirement
preparation. For comparison, only 28 percent of those preparing for
retirement on their own could say the same.
Boomers who consult with finance professionals also take more
proactive steps to prepare for retirement. Virtually all of them,
94 percent, have retirement savings, and 71 percent have a savings
goal. Meanwhile, only 64 percent of those working on their own have
savings and a mere 34 percent have
established a savings goal
It should be noted that the IRI is a trade group that represents
various financial professionals. Still, the results support a
fairly non-controversial principle: Careful planning is a key part
of feeling assured about retirement, and if you feel over your head
in managing the process, there's nothing wrong with seeking help.