Nowadays, it’s all too common to see news headlines on retirement, although they’re not as positive as we’d like.
The sad truth is that many people struggle to make ends meet once they retire. Some are shackled by mortgages or other debts they need to consider on top of their day-to-day expenses, as reflected by the latest retirement statistics.
In this article, we’ve gathered the most important stats on retirement to give you a better understanding of the current situation in the country, so read on if you’d like to know the particulars.
Fascinating Retirement Statistics - Editor’s Choice
- The average retirement age for both men and women has increased by three years since the 1990s.
- Each US retiree typically has to set aside $4,300 for healthcare expenses per year.
- Over a third of Americans don’t believe they’ll ever retire.
- 60% of Americans plan to rely on Social Security as their main source of income in retirement.
- 77% of Americans are investing in a 401(k) plan.
- About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day, and the entire generation is expected to reach retirement age by 2030.
General US Retirement Statistics for 2022
There are many expectations and misconceptions regarding the latest statistics about retirement. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most important stats and facts pertaining to retirement in the United States that you should be aware of.
1. The average retirement age is 65 for men and 62 for women.
According to Forbes’ latest retirement statistics by age, the average retirement age has increased over the years. Currently, it is 65 for men, whereas it’s slightly lower for women at 62.
Moreover, the average retirement age has increased steadily over the past two decades. Specifically, the same research from Forbes indicates that the average retirement age in 1992 was three years lower than today - 62 for men and 59 for women.
Though most people are retiring later in life than ever before, studies also show that job satisfaction is quite high among Americans at the moment, in spite of the troubling state of the economy.
2. To retire comfortably, you’ll need to have 80% of your pre-retirement income.
(The Motley Fool)
Regarding how much one should save for retirement, many tend to focus on the total amount. However, it’s much more important to ensure that you can secure a stable income over the full length of your retirement. A financial advisor is likely to recommend you secure 80% of your annual pre-retirement income if you wish to have comfortable and stress-free golden years.
Of course, this rule isn’t set in stone. Those who are debt-free and don’t plan on any major spending in their retirement can make do with less, whereas those who might have significant expenses should save more. This can include anything from the services of an elder law specialist or a caregiver, to paying off a mortgage or other debt.
In fact, American retirement savings statistics show that many baby boomers still have a lot of outstanding mortgage and nonmortgage debt that they’ll likely have to keep paying off even after they retire.
3. On average, a retiree spends $4,300 out of pocket for health care expenses annually.
(The Motley Fool)
Speaking of expenses, statistics on retirement in the United States indicate that the average retiree has to set aside roughly $4,300 on healthcare every year. In fact, healthcare costs can easily become your sole biggest expense.
As such, it’s important to take healthcare costs into account when planning your retirement and to save up as much as possible in order to account for both the predictable and unpredictable costs you might face.
4. The number of retirees in America receiving Social Security benefits reached 47.3 million in 2021.
Research conducted by Statista shows that the number of retirees who rely on Social Security benefits has increased significantly over the past decade, reaching almost 47.3 million in 2021, up from 46.3 million in 2020.
This number has seen a steady year-on-year increase of roughly 1 million. For comparison, it’s noteworthy that in 2010, only 34.6 million retirees were receiving Social Security benefits from the state. The latest data bears no indication that this trend will change, and Social Security expenditure is expected to keep rising in the coming years.
5. Military retirement statistics project that the number of US military retirees will grow to 2.3 million by 2032.
According to data from Statista, the number of military retirees in 2022 is approximately 2.2 million, and it's expected to rise to over 2.3 million over the next 10 years. As the number of military retirees increases, so will the value of total benefits paid out to former military personnel.
6. The average American retiree receives $1,666 in Social Security benefits per month.
Retirement income statistics from April 2022 indicate that an American retiree can expect to receive an average of $1,666 in monthly Social Security benefits. Of course, some will receive more and some less, depending on a number of factors.
In any case, it’s obvious that Americans can’t rely solely on Social Security if they wish to have a comfortable retirement. After all, the Social Security Administration itself stated that Social Security isn’t meant to replace a full income. This is why it’s important to start saving on time, build up your assets, and spare yourself potential financial headaches later in life.
7. The average mean retirement income in American households was $73,288 in 2021.
(US Census Bureau)
According to data from the US Census Bureau, the average mean annual retirement income for retirees aged 65 and above was $73,288. Notably, there was a big income gap between those who are 65 to 74 years of age and those 75 or older - $84,153 and $58,684, respectively.
Furthermore, the median retirement income for the 65-74 age bracket is $56,632, whereas it’s only $37,335 for those 75 or older.
8. 36% of Americans believe they’ll never get to retire.
While the average retirement age has risen over the years, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a considerable blow to both the economy and to people’s morale.
The latest US retirement statistics show that as many as 36% of Americans feel that they’ll never be able to retire and will instead have to work their entire lives. Meanwhile, 59% of study respondents said they were aware they would simply have to keep working past the expected retirement age.
9. 55% of Americans are behind on their retirement savings.
One of the more concerning retirement facts, as per a recent survey by Bankrate, is that over half of Americans are contributing the same amount or less to their retirement funds compared to the previous year. Specifically, 35% said they were “significantly behind” on their savings, whereas the other 20% felt they were only “somewhat behind.”
The main reason for this, as pointed out by the survey responders, is the skyrocketing level of inflation. Specifically, the US inflation rate in 2022 is a whopping 8.3%, compared to 1.2% in 2020 and 4.7% in 2021.
10. 60% of Americans expect that Social Security benefits will be their main source of retirement income.
According to a survey from Statista, 60% of Americans think Social Security will be their primary source of income once they retire. Of course, that is not to say that they’d be relying solely on state assistance without any savings of their own, as most Americans have 401(k) plans, IRAs, or other savings accounts.
However, 33% of responders expect that they will still have to keep working after they retire in order to be able to live comfortably.
11. The total value of assets in 401(k) plans has increased to $7.2 trillion as of last year.
Despite some discouraging trends, 401(k) statistics show that the total nationwide asset value in 401(k) plans surpassed $7.2 trillion in 2021, up from $6.7 trillion in 2020, marking a steady upward trend since 2018. Of the mentioned $7.2 trillion, $4.8 trillion was invested in mutual funds, and the remaining $2.4 trillion was put toward other investments.
In addition, the total value of assets in Individual Retirement Accounts was $11.8 trillion in 2021. Much like 401(k) plans, the value of traditional IRAs has been rising steadily. Since 2018, the total value has only been going up.
12. 77% of Americans have a 401(k) plan, making it the most popular means of saving for retirement.
The latest retirement savings statistics indicate that 77% of Americans have a 401(k) plan. This makes it the most popular defined contribution retirement plan, and the most popular retirement plan overall. Moreover, 67% of respondents also said they’re saving for retirement by putting money into regular savings accounts.
Traditional and Roth IRAs are less popular, at 26% and 25%, respectively. On top of that, only 30% of Americans invested in certificates of deposit, 25% plan to rely on their insurance policy, and 24% also rely on taxable investment accounts.
13. On average, 10,000 baby boomers reach the average retirement age every day.
People who were born in the baby boomer generation are now either in retirement or fast approaching their golden years. In fact, roughly 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day, and all baby boomers will have passed that age by 2030.
Baby boomers comprise 28% of the US population. Notably, as many as 40% of them said that they never plan to retire. It’s not difficult to understand this outlook, as high turnover rates among younger generations tend to leave a lot of positions open.
14. The median retirement savings for baby boomers amount to $202,000 per household.
(Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)
Baby boomer retirement statistics indicate that the median amount of retirement savings among the members of this generation is only $202,000, which would indicate an annual income of only $8,000 for those who follow the 4% rule.
However, 45% of baby boomers reported having saved up more than $250,000, but this is still a far cry from securing the generally recommended 80% of one’s pre-retirement income on an annual level.
15. Baby boomers have an average of $191,650 in mortgage debt.
One of the more concerning statistics regarding retirement in the US is the fact that the average baby boomer still has almost $200,000 in mortgage debt, and that doesn’t include an additional $25,812 of nonmortgage debt.
A generation that’s rapidly approaching retirement years, baby boomers are under considerable pressure to pay off their debts as quickly as possible so that they don’t pose an additional burden on their savings in retirement.
The Bottom Line
Preparing adequately for retirement in the US is getting more and more challenging in these precarious economic circumstances. These retirement statistics attest to that, providing ample insight into the problems and obstacles that millions of future retirees will have to face.
On the bright side, keeping these factors in mind can help ensure you take all the steps needed to make your golden years as comfortable and peaceful as possible.