The wide variation in findings regarding how well older workers are prepared for retirement reflects differences in what is included in potential expenses and what percentage of pre-retirement income is considered “adequate,” according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
Differing studies have pegged from 16 percent to 52 percent of households as having “retirement income adequacy,” varying in part by what factors are included, such as the potential need for long-term health care.
It added that if “adequacy” is defined as being able to cover 100 percent of the average expenses in retirement, including long-term care costs, about 58 percent of all Baby Boomers and Gen Xer households would be adequately prepared for retirement. If “adequacy” is defined at 90 percent of average costs in retirement, about 68 percent would be adequately prepared, while if “adequacy” is defined as 80 percent, about 82 percent would be adequately prepared.
Excluding long-term care costs–which could be done on an assumption that the person has purchased insurance to cover them or will be one of those who never incurs those costs–would bring the numbers up to 75, 82 and 91 percent, respectively.
Among the greatest risks to having adequate retirement savings, it said, is “leakage” from employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts such as the TSP by taking a loan and not repaying it, taking a hardship withdrawal, or withdrawing the money at a change in jobs rather than leaving it in place or transferring it into another retirement savings account. Rates of leakage are highest at lower income levels and put those individuals at still higher risk of having inadequate savings, it added.