“Our research clearly demonstrates that the retirement crisis is very real for today’s workers,” said Alicia H. Munnell, director of the center. “And without changes in behavior, we believe the picture will become increasingly bleak as younger workers get closer to retirement.”
The center found that in 1992, only 20% of those aged 51-61 were at risk of not meeting their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement, but by 2004, 32% were at such a risk, and broadening the age range raised that level to nearly 45%. The center didn’t compare retirees’ standard of living to 100% of what they were making before retirement but to the generally accepted range of 65% to 85%.
“Revisiting 1992 highlights how the retirement landscape is changing over time,” Munnell added. “Factors like declining Social Security replacement rates, the continuing shift from traditional employer pension plans to 401(k)s, lower interest rates and rising life expectancy all underscore the need for more retirement income. And the index has not yet factored in healthcare costs—a major wild card that could further undermine retirement security.”