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Does America Have A Retirement Crisis? Here’s What To Do

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 16: Mamie Underhill (L), 104, and her daughter Leita Chapman laugh while reading a birthday card for Mamie during a birthday celebration for five women residents at the Solheim Lutheran Home who are 100-years-old or more August 16, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. Mamie turns 105 on September 19. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

There is a retirement crisis in America. Most specialists concur that a sizeable section of the population will need more money to live comfortably once they quit working. The country’s social safety net will consequently be under more stress. 

How significant is the issue exactly? Put another way; retirement may overrun state budgets across the nation under plausible assumptions.


POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 16: Vera Leip, 88, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Christine Philips, RN Florida Department of Health in Broward County, at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community on December 16, 2020 in Pompano Beach, Florida. The facility, one of the first in the country to do so, vaccinated approximately 170 people including healthcare workers and elder care people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Retirement Crisis in America: How to Fix This Issue?

According to a recent study by the Center for New York City Affairs, the number of poor or near-poor persons over the age of 62 would climb by 22.3 percent between 2019 and 2045, going from 18 million to 21.3 million, as a result of structural problems in America’s retirement system.

With that, a GoBankingRates report mentioned that there’s a growing trend of Americans who are dipping into their funds early. The same report, citing TD Ameritrade survey, showed that 44% of Americans ages 40 to 79 have taken money out of a retirement plan. Forty-six percent of people 40 to 49 have done so, and 53% for people 70 to 79.

A retirement expert told Barron that legislators and policymakers are focusing their efforts on three areas to address this problem.

Thasunda Brown Duckett, the president, and CEO of TIAA (provider of secure retirements), said only one-third of employees in the private sector have access to an employer-sponsored plan. They are thus seeking policies that would make it simpler for companies, especially small enterprises, to let their employees have such exposure. 

She pointed out a savings gap, with half of Americans having no savings. She said that for individuals to start saving earlier and take advantage of compounding in their total retirement plan, they are seeking legislation relating to auto-enrollment in plans and auto-escalation of contributions. Finally, they are exploring options to provide guaranteed income inside the plan.

ALSO READ: Social Security Needs More Funds: Here’s Why And How To Cope

How Much Americans Have Saved For Retirement

According to the “How America Saves 2022” study prepared by Vanguard, an investment company representing more than 30 million participants, Americans have around $141,542 saved up for retirement. 

The typical 401(k) balance is only $35,345; however, most people probably have considerably less. 

According to a 2017 research from the Government Accountability Office obtained by GoBankingRates, the typical retirement savings for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 was a little over $107,000. This sum, which the GAO acknowledges may seem substantial, would only result in a monthly payout of $310, and only if it were placed in an inflation-protected annuity.

Accordingly, 50% of account balances are lower than this sum, and 50% are greater. The median account balance is thought to be a better indicator of how much money the majority of people actually have saved in their 401(k) plans because a few outliers can distort averages.

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