A Worldwide Worry

They say misery loves company, but it’s likely little comfort to know that Americans are not the only ones concerned about whether they will have enough money for retirement. Below is an article recently posted at Bloomberg that highlights the fact that retirement security is a challenge faced globally. One thing to note, while those in the U.S. have a high level of worry about having enough money in retirement, the reality of living in retirement here is a little better: the U.S. ranks 3rd lowest in the survey when responding to the question “I do not enjoy the same standard of living [in retirement] I had when working.” Granted, my feeling is that a 30% response rate is still high, so focusing on saving, investing and retirement planning remains key.


By Ben Steverman

If you’re worried about saving enough for retirement, you’ve got company all over the world.

A new survey shows that even workers in countries with strong social safety nets fret over their financial futures. ING surveyed almost 15,000 people in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, and found the majority worry whether they’ll have enough money in retirement.

Those with the gloomiest outlooks are in Spain and France, where more than two out of three people said they’re concerned. The most optimistic about their retirement prospects are the Dutch. In the U.S., 62 percent of respondents said they worried about having enough to retire on.

Bay Area Financial Adviser Percentage of people worried about having enough money in retirement.png

While the Dutch have the brightest outlook on retirement, they’re also planning to delay retirement the longest. The average respondent in the Netherlands expects to retire at almost 67 years old.

San Ramon Financial Adviser average expected retirement age by country.png

As retirement experts have pointed out, working longer makes retirement easier to afford. That goes for both individuals planning their futures and governments struggling to cover the costs of old age benefits. There are practical problems, however: Cutting pensions for seniors can be dangerous for politicians who try to do so. And, for workers who want to delay retirement, it’s hard to know whether their health will hold up or if employers will want to hire them.

Workers’ attitudes toward retirement don’t necessarily reflect financial realities they face. In France, current retirees are the most likely to say they do not “enjoy the same standard of living I had when working,” at 69 percent. Just 30 percent of American retirees say they’re falling short.

San Ramon Certified Financial Planner percentage of current retirees who do not have the same standard of living  they had when working.png

It’s entirely possible that some combination of government budget cuts, low saving rates, and weak market returns could make future retirees worse off than seniors today. If so, a healthy fear of the future is justified for workers on both sides of the Atlantic.