BlackRock Study: Confidence in Retirement Security Declines for the First Time Since Before the Pandemic
- Across generations and multiple demographics, fewer Americans believe they are on track for retirement as a result of inflation and market volatility
- Nearly half of savers who don’t have a workplace retirement plan keep their savings in cash
- Gen Z is putting aside 14% of their earnings for retirement – more than any other generation
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More Americans (37%) spanning generations and demographics feel unprepared or unsure if they are on track for retirement compared to the previous three years, with more women than any other group (47%) reporting a lack of confidence, according to BlackRock’s seventh annual retirement survey, The BlackRock Read on Retirement. For the first time in several years, the data shows a notable decline in confidence amongst savers who are participating in a workplace retirement plan, down from peak levels (68%) during 2021. Among savers who did not have access to a workplace retirement plan, only 51% feel they are on track for retirement.
Inflation is a key driver for the decline in confidence, and nearly all (87%) workplace savers reported they are concerned about inflation impacting their retirement. These savers also report a decrease in spending on big ticket items (54%) and consumables (42%) as a result. Most of all respondents (64%) are also worried about their nest egg lasting throughout their lifetime – a data point that is even higher among Black/African American (75%), Asian/Pacific Islander (71%) and Hispanic/Latino respondents (67%). Likewise, a majority of plan sponsors (69%) reported they are worried about inflation wearing down their plan participants’ retirement savings, and nearly all employers and savers (90%) are interested in investment options that would provide guaranteed income in retirement.
Savings rates across workplace plan participants were a positive finding in the research. Across generations of Americans currently in the workforce, the most in modern history, youngest workplace savers (Gen Z) are demonstrating the strongest retirement savings discipline. The study found this group is setting aside an average of 14% of each paycheck, compared to 12% for other generations (Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers). However, one-third of Gen Z respondents believe they can retire comfortably with less than $250,000, compared to half of Baby Boomers who reported they would need $1 to $3 million to retire. In contrast, 17% of savers with no access to a workplace plan are not contributing anything at all to retirement, compared to just 1% of workplace savers with access to plans.
Anne Ackerley, Head of Retirement at BlackRock, said: “As we experience new market headwinds that could impact the retirement security of millions of Americans, it’s a critical time for our industry to ensure people are planning for retirement with confidence and clarity. While it’s encouraging to see double-digit savings rates across every generation, we have work to do to help more Americans reach retirement with dignity and on their own terms – particularly those without access to employer savings plans, and women and people of color.”
- Retirement confidence varies across generations, with a high percentage of Millennials (19%) and Gen X (22%) reporting they are not on track for retirement compared to Boomers (12%). Plan sponsors are also concerned about retirement readiness, and report that, on average, only 58% of their employees are on track for retirement, down from 63% in 2021. Gen Z, who was included in the survey for the first time this year, reported the highest level of confidence (69%) in their retirement outlook.
- Interest in retirement income is higher than ever, with 87% of workplace savers willing to invest a portion of their retirement savings in exchange for guaranteed regular income payments (up from 71% last year.) Similarly, 74% of employers said that retirement income has become more important for their employees, and 90% agreed that plan participants would benefit from a target date fund (TDF) that generates guaranteed retirement income.
- Savers without access to a workplace retirement plan are most at risk of being unprepared for retirement, with 46% reporting they are holding at least some of their savings just in cash, missing out on wealth-generating opportunities. This group also reported low familiarity with common retirement vehicles such as TDFs (41%), but when given a description of these vehicles, 66% reported high interest, highlighting a key opportunity for investment education.
- Women and diverse communities show differing levels of retirement confidence. Only 53% of women said they feel on track with their retirement savings, compared to 63% of all workplace savers, and 73% of men. Among diverse groups, sentiment varies, with 65% of Black/African Americans, 57% of Hispanic/Latino respondents and 51% of Asian/Pacific Islander respondents saying they are on track for retirement.
- Younger workers are saving more but need guidance on goal setting. Gen Z workplace savers are heeding the retirement industry’s decades-long push to save more – however, a third of these respondents believed that savings of under $250,000 would be sufficient to retire comfortably, signaling that this group may need more education on planning for decumulation in retirement. Gen Z showed the highest familiarity with retirement strategies such as TDFs. Likewise, 51% of Millennials report that they are invested in TDFs, and of this group 38% have no plans to change their allocation – a higher percentage than any other generation.
About The BlackRock Read on Retirement
The BlackRock Read on Retirement, formerly known as the BlackRock DC Pulse Survey, provides insights from a research study of over 300 large defined contribution plan sponsors, 1,300 workplace retirement plan savers, 1,300 independent savers, and 300 retired workplace savers in the United States. The survey is executed by Escalent, an independent research company. All respondents were interviewed using an online survey conducted March 25 – April 30, 2022.
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