Americans have big retirement dreams, but their financial plans don’t back them up

Americans have big retirement dreams, but their financial plans don’t back them up

  • Many individuals see retirement as the “most liberating phase of their life,” when they can finally put family and friends, travel and hobbies first.
  • But financial insecurities, such as whether they have enough financially to really cover their needs, could stand in the way of those goals.

Businesswoman working, jar of money in foreground

Jamie Grill | The Image Bank | Getty Images

A majority of Americans expect their retirement to be the “most liberating phase of their life,” according to a new survey.

Yet for many, their financial plans have not caught up to their retirement dreams.

That is according to a new survey from TD Ameritrade, which asked 2,002 adults in July about their perceptions on aging and retirement.

Most — 81 percent — said they see their elder years as a time to pursue new goals. And 76 percent said they see themselves using that time to pursue passions they previously neglected.

Those priorities include spending time with friends and family, traveling abroad or taking up a hobby, in that order, according to the survey.

But many have yet to figure out how to match their retirement funds to those priorities.

About half of those surveyed — 51 percent — said they do not think they will have more than enough money in retirement to pay for their needs.

And 60 percent do not know how much they will need to save to fund their lifestyles beyond age 65.

Two of the biggest concerns in retirement: Social Security and health care.

Most survey respondents — 72 percent — do not believe Social Security will be enough to cover their retirement spending.

And most individuals said they were more worried about health-care costs and finances than death.

Declining health — particularly the loss of mental and physical abilities — also ranked high among people’s worries.

“Their perception is that they are not there [financially] and they don’t have the confidence that they’re going to be OK in retirement,” said Matt Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade.

Most individuals can rectify that using a two-step plan, Sadowsky said.

First, they need to make a financial plan and map out how they can make their nest egg last.

Next, they need to evaluate their retirement needs against their wants and wishes, he said.

Lifetime income — such as money from Social Security retirement benefits, pensions or annuities — can serve as guaranteed income to cover your recurring needs.

Saving More, Working Less

Saving More, Working Less  

For all your other expenses, you can tap money from your nest egg, he said.

Starting to draw down the assets you have spent years accumulating requires a “major shift in mindset,” according to Sadowsky.

“When you’re in retirement, you lose an important lever of the pay check,” Sadowsky said. “It’s less about growing and saving.

“It’s more about protection and income generation and planning for the unexpected.”

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