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The More You Save For Retirement, You’re Better Off Financially And Emotionally

New surveys confirm the fairly obvious: The more money you have for retirement, the better.

When it comes to retirement, there is definitely a divide between the “haves” and “have nots.” A Bankrate.com survey shows 26 percent of those 50 to 64 haven’t saved a dime for retirement and 14 percent of those 65 and older haven’t saved anything either. But those who aren’t procrastinators and have been setting aside money for retirement throughout their lives are making up for the rest and are in solid financial shape, according to a survey by T. Rowe Price, the investment management firm.

In a survey of 1,500 retirees with a 401(k) or IRA, those people who have saved for existing retirement say they’re faring financially as well as emotionally. Among the 1,000 workers 50 and older who contribute to a 401(k), that group, even though they’ve accumulated “significant assets,” are feeling more anxious than those already retired, according to the survey.

That’s surprising since the group of 50 and older plans to set aside quite a bit in their retirement. Based on their savings, however, those 50 and older that are already saving shouldn’t feel as worried. They have median household assets of $465,000 with 47 percent of that in stocks or mutual funds. Some 13 percent have asset allocation funds and 23 percent of that is in cash. Among that group, 81 percent own real estate.

That working group says they set aside ten percent of their median income for retirement and put the median number at $693,000 of what they would want for their retirement. More than six in ten are confident they’ll hit that number.

Despite that, 49 percent say they believe they’ll have to reduce their standard of living in retirement compared to 35 percent of retirees. Another 22 percent say they think they’ll run out of money. Only 14 percent of retirees think that. When it comes to paying for healthcare, only 49 percent believe they’ll have enough money. Some 70 percent of retirees believe they do.

Nearly half of recent retirees say they have household assets (home and investment) of $500,000 or more. Of those assets, 38 percent were in stocks and mutual funds, 13 percent in asset allocation mutual funds, and 31 percent in cash. Some 82 percent own real estate and have median home equity of just under $200,000.The retirees say 43 percent of their income comes from Social Security, 19 percent from defined benefit plans, and 18 percent from personal savings and investment accounts, including IRAs and defined contribution plans.

Those in 50 and older say they’re staying away from using their home to generate retirement income, the survey says. Some 60 percent say they won’t tap into their homes while 11 percent say they plan to use more than half of their home equity. That group wants to work longer. On average, they plan to retire at 68 and 43 percent say they have considered delaying retirement. They’re worried about their jobs with 29 percent worried about losing it in the next 12 months.

As for Social Security, 80 percent say they’ll wait until at least 66, their full retirement age, before taking benefits. Some 34 percent say they’re willing to wait until 70.

Among the findings in the survey among retirees: Some 21 percent work either part time or full time. Part time accounts for 16 percent of that total. Another 14 percent are looking for work.

Nearly half say they have a withdrawal plan and take out four percent of their assets annually. One quarter drew eight percent or more and one percent drew one percent.

Three years into their retirement, the retirees say they’re living on 66 percent of their pre-retirement income. That hasn’t affected their satisfaction with 57 percent saying they live as well or even better than when they were working. Some 85 percent say they don’t need to spend as much as they did before to be satisfied.

That leads to 89 percent saying they’re satisfied with retirement and 74 percent saying they’re better off than their parents at the same age.

The bad news in that group is households of retirees who aren’t married or living with a partner aren’t doing as well as their married counterparts. The survey shows 48 percent of the women were in single households compared to 26 percent of men. The single households had about $250,000 in household assets compared to $731,000 for married couples.

The single household group is more likely to be looking for work, more likely to believe they’ll run out of money and less satisfied than those who are married.

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