Workers, Retirees More Optimistic About Retirement Finances, Report Shows

April 26, 2019

The share of workers who feel confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement rose from 64% last year to 67% this year, while those who report that they are very confident rose from 17% to 23%, according to a new survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Two-thirds of workers are saving for retirement, but only 42% have calculated how much money they will need.  Of those workers who have tried this calculation, one in three estimate they will need $1 million or more, compared with one in four in 2016.

Among current retirees, 82% say they are optimistic they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement, the highest reported since EBRI started the survey in 1990.  This reflects levels measured in the late 1990s and early 2000s, prior to the financial crisis of 2008.

Impact of a strong economy and stock market: As the economy improves and workers become more confident in their current financial situations, this also boosts confidence about retirement. In addition, in a strong economy, workers can contribute more to savings and take steps to plan for retirement.

"Retirement confidence continues to be closely related to having a retirement plan," said Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and co-author of the report. "Workers reporting they or their spouse have money in a defined contribution plan or IRA, or have benefits in a defined benefit plan, are nearly twice as likely to be at least somewhat confident about retirement (74% with a plan vs. 39% without a plan)."