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5 Ways People Are Growing More Pessimistic About Retirement

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Retirement attitudes and behaviors recently have turned sharply negative, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s latest annual Advisor Authority survey.

More Americans are adjusting their expectations about retirement downward in the poll, which included more than 2,300 investors age 18 and older with investable assets of $10,000 or more.

In the short term, 3 in 4 survey respondents worry about a recession in 2024. And the trying times that have characterized the past several years are also taking a toll on their long-term outlook.

Here are some ways people are growing more pessimistic about retirement.

Economic conditions are derailing their dreams

Young couple shocked by insurance bill
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The belief: “My dreams for retirement have been delayed, altered or cancelled as a result of economic conditions seen in the last five years.”

Respondents who said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with this: 49%

The worst bout of inflation in more than 40 years has shaken Americans’ confidence about the future, with 33% somewhat agreeing with the statement above and 16% strongly agreeing.

If rising prices have undermined your faith in the future, check out Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s podcast episode “Inflation Is Surging: 20 Ways to Fight Higher Prices.”

They expect less security than prior generations

Stressed senior worrying about finances
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The belief: “I expect to be less secure in retirement than my parents and grandparents were.”

Respondents who said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with this: 50%

The American dream was built on the notion that each generation would do better than the one that preceded it. However, that belief is now being questioned, with 30% somewhat agreeing with the statement above and 20% strongly agreeing.

Their outlook on retirement has changed

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The belief: “My expectations for retirement have changed significantly in the last five years.”

Respondents who said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with this: 61%

The COVID-19 pandemic, rampant inflation and other negative events of recent years knocked many of us off our game. In some ways, some of us still haven’t recovered from such shocks.

While the Nationwide Retirement Institute survey respondents were simply asked if their retirement expectations have “changed significantly,” it’s a good bet that the change was negative for most folks who either somewhat (40%) or strongly (21%) agreed.

They don’t anticipate retiring at 65

Senior man working among flowers
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The belief: “The norm of retiring at 65 doesn’t apply to people like me.”

Respondents who said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with this: 61%

The traditional retirement age long has been 65, and many people dream of retiring even earlier than that. But it seems such visions are going up in smoke, as 34% somewhat agree and 27% strongly agree with the statement above.

If you have not given up hope of leaving your job soon, check out the tips in “Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early.”

They expect more challenges than prior generations

Serious senior couple
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The belief: “I expect to face more challenges in retirement than my parents and grandparents did.”

Respondents who said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with this: 63%

Retirement is supposed to be the era of your “golden years,” but the future is looking a little blue for millions of people. Among the survey respondents, 38% somewhat agree with the above statement, and 25% strongly agree.

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