Rebounding After a Decade of Economic Crisis

By Center for a Secure Retirement, Special for USDR

Ten years after the financial crisis and recession that began in 2007, only two percent of middle-income Boomers feel the economy has fully recovered, while 65 percent believe they have not personally benefited at all from any recovery, according to a new study commissioned by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement® (CSR). During this decade, Baby Boomers have struggled to rebound financially, and while nearly all surveyed said they still plan to retire, they have readjusted retirement expectations to meet their new reality.

The study, 10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered,” reports that among Boomers who believe they have not personally benefitted from any recovery, more than half say their savings are lower now than before the crisis, and four in 10 are not earning as much. Adding to their financial burden, before the crisis, 45 percent of middle-income Boomers—those with an annual household income between $30,000 and $100,000 and less than $1 million in investable assets—expected to retire debt free, but today only 34 percent anticipate a debt-free retirement. Two-thirds (68 percent) are worried about another financial crisis in their lifetime.

The study found that only 31 percent of middle-income Boomers feel well-prepared for retirement. This uncertainty about achieving a personally satisfying retirement has left most Boomers apprehensive about their investments, compelling them to make adjustments: 28 percent are making more conservative investment decisions and 26 percent no longer invest.

The study also revealed that three in 10 (34%) middle-income Boomers plan to rely on personal savings or earnings for their primary source of income in retirement, down from four in 10 before the crisis. This reliance appears to be shifting to Social Security, where four in 10 (38 percent) middle-income Boomers expect to rely on Social Security for their primary source of retirement income, versus three in 10 before the crisis. This increase in reliance on Social Security is concerning, as it was designed to be a safety net and not a primary replacement for savings or income.

Concern over having enough income to last throughout their retirement has led Boomers to reconsider exiting the workforce. According to the latest CSR report, before the crisis, 35 percent of middle-income Boomers expected to work full time or part-time in retirement, but today 48 percent expect to work full or part-time.

“Ten years ago, Baby Boomers had a clear vision of what a personally satisfying retirement looked like,” said Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. “But today, many are realizing they will not be as financially independent in retirement as they once expected.”

As middle-income Boomers continue to feel the recovery has passed them by, they have taken steps to manage their spending and savings. More than eight in 10 have taken specific actions:

  • Reduced discretionary expenses (54 percent)
  • Reduced recurring monthly expenses (47 percent)
  • Created and maintained a household budget (35 percent)

As a result, today more than half (57 percent) of middle-income Boomers feel confident in meeting their daily financial obligations, up from only 41 percent during the crisis.

Long-term financial planning, however, hasn’t fared as well. Two in 10 middle-income Boomers now save a smaller percentage of their paycheck, nearly one quarter don’t save anything at all, and one quarter no longer invest.

“Boomers should plan for any unexpected costs that can arise, especially expenses related to retirement, such as long-term care or critical illness. Also, they should make a concerted effort to pay down debt before retiring to create more financial flexibility,” added Goldberg.

Methodology
“10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered” is part of a series of studies commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement. It was conducted in October 2016 by independent research firm The Blackstone  Group.

The findings were from one Internet-based survey:

A nationwide sample of 1,000 middle-income Boomers. Quotas were established based on the U.S. Census Current Population Survey data for age, gender and income to obtain a nationally representative sample. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

All respondents were aged 52 to 70 and had an annual household income of between $30,000 and $100,000.

About the Center for a Secure  Retirement
The Center for a Secure Retirement is the Bankers Life’s research and consumer education program. The Center’s studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice to help everyday Americans achieve financial security in  retirement.

About Bankers  Life
Bankers Life focuses on the insurance needs of middle-income Americans who are near or in retirement. The Bankers Life brand is a part of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), whose companies provide insurance solutions that help protect the health and retirement needs of working Americans and retirees. There are more than 5,000 Bankers Life insurance agents at over 300 offices across the country. To learn more, visit  BankersLife.com.

SOURCE Center for a Secure Retirement

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.
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