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In general, workers seem to begin preparing for retirement almost as soon as they get their first job. However, according to the 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), retirement preparations do vary a bit by age group.

Retirement Preparations

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of workers say that they or their spouse have personally saved money for retirement. Not surprisingly, the older the respondents were, the more likely they were to report saving:

  • Age 25 to 34: 63%
  • Age 35 to 44: 71%
  • Age 45 to 54: 75%
  • Age 55 and older: 81%

In terms of amount saved, even many of those in the younger age brackets seem to be off to a good start.

Age 25-34Age 35-44Age 45-54Age 55 and older
Less than $1,00014%11%14%11%
$1,000 – $24,99920%13%10%11%
$25,000 – $99,99927%20%14%12%
$100,000 – $249,99923%25%20%15%
$250,000 or more15%30%41%51%

Although workers appear to be setting money aside for retirement, have they actually performed a calculation to determine how much they may need? Here’s the percentage for each age group that said yes to that question:

  • Age 25 to 34: 45%
  • Age 35 to 44: 47%
  • Age 45 to 54: 48%
  • Age 55 and older: 60%

EBRI also questioned workers about other ways they could prepare for retirement. Following is a breakdown of how each age group responded.

Age 25-34Age 35-44Age 45-54Age 55 and older
Considered how much to withdraw from savings during retirement34%35%43%48%
Considered how one would occupy time in retirement45%45%55%60%
Calculated how much would likely be needed for health expenses35%32%39%48%
Estimated your monthly income in retirement42%46%49%61%
Planned for how to cover an emergency or big expense during retirement41%38%43%52%

Confidence in different aspects of retirement

Approximately seven out of 10 workers say they are very or somewhat confident in having enough money to retire comfortably. The results don’t vary too much when workers were asked about their level of confidence in specific aspects of retirement (responses represent the total responding “somewhat” or “very confident”).

Age 25-34Age 35-44Age 45-54Age 55 and older
Have enough money to last your entire life65%64%62%62%
Have enough money to take care of medical costs73%64%68%66%
Have enough money to pay for basic expenses78%76%76%79%
Doing a good job of preparing financially for retirement76%70%70%71%

For more information on this year’s Retirement Confidence Survey, please visit www.ebri.org.


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