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Survey: One Third of Baby Boomers Have No Retirement Savings

By: Lauren Mineau

Imagine being near retirement but with no savings in sight. That’s the reality for more baby boomers than we may think.

The NHP Foundation, a group dedicated to preserving affordable housing in the U.S., conducted a survey of 1,000 non-retired Americans aged 50 and up to see where the status of their retirement plans, savings and expected dependence on government programs like Social Security lie.

The survey results showed a disconnect between people planning for retirement and affording a certain lifestyle in the present.

Of the estimated 78 million baby boomers, about 10,000 hit retirement age every day, but according to The NHP Foundation data, 73 percent of baby boomers expect to delay retirement. Why?

Thirty-one percent said they don’t have a prepared retirement budget and 62 percent said they’ve budgeted, but Social Security Income will supply at least half of their planned income.

About three-quarters of those who said they expect to keep working past retirement age blamed unexpected health problems for cutting those plans short. But, 65 percent of those surveyed don’t have any funds planned for unexpected health issues.

“Although this generation is statistically healthier and living longer than previously, it’s still startling to see people taking such a laissez-faire attitude to long-term health and retirement planning,” said tax consultant and financial advisor Paul Shapiro.

Despite the lack of preparation, a large percentage of people think they’ll be fine. Seventy percent of those surveyed are at least somewhat confident that they will experience the retirement that they seek, and out of those that expect to delay retirement, 63 percent believe they will achieve their desired retirement.

However, older homeowners owe almost double on their current mortgage than the same age group did a decade ago, according to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Housing is one thing that does worry those surveyed. In order of importance, the three outcomes that worry prospective retirees the most are: an inability to afford quality health care (36 percent), dependency on children (28 percent), and being forced to choose a living situation inferior to their preference (22 percent).

“There is a disconnect between Baby Boomers’ current financial status and where they perceive themselves in retirement. This ‘wishful thinking’ carries potential consequences that will likely have a large impact throughout all areas of the economy,” said Richard Burns, president and CEO of The NHP Foundation.