Retirement Anxiety Spreads Among the One Percent


When it comes to retirement, apparently even the well-to-do are wallowing in anxiety. A new survey of the affluent from Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) revealed that the wealthy are losing sleep over their lack of preparation for the good old days down the road, much like the less monied crowd.

"It's surprising that fears and concerns about retirement can be felt along the income spectrum," says Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo.

Don't feel like you're the only who needs to spend more time in discount and dollar stores. Of those surveyed, 37% say that they will need to significantly cut back their spending to save for retirement, including nearly half of those with $100,000 to $250,000 in investable assets.

What's the biggest fear? It's that they "will do all the right things today and it still won't be enough for tomorrow," say 40%. Nearly 10% fear that they "will have undersaved and won't recover."

Even a third of those who have a written plan say that they are not confident that they will have saved enough.

According to the survey, the golden years will get further and further away. Of those with assets, 19% of people with $100,000 to $250,000 feel that they will need to work until "at least 80"--not vastly different than the 25% of middle class people who said the same thing. Among all the affluent surveyed, 12% say that they will work until 80.

There are gender differences too. Twice as many affluent women think they'll need to work until 80 in order to retire comfortably (18% of women compared to 8% of men). Women are also more likely to expect that they won't be able to leave an inheritance (35% versus 26%). This expectation was most prevalent among people in their 50s (38%).

%Poll-71849%While most everybody is worried about having enough for retirement, the survey does reveal some significant differences between the wealthy and middle class.

Among the affluent, 54% have a written plan, compared with 30% of the middle class. But those plans aren't worth bragging about. Almost a third didn't have details, like how much savings would be withdrawn, average life expectancy, and how long savings will need to last, or a budget for retirement. However, nearly 60% of the affluent plan to work in their retirement years, while 74% of the middle class say that they will. It's notable too that 39% of the affluent will work in retirement because they want to rather than out of financial need.

What's the takeaway? Instead of stewing in insecurity, step up your game. Getting started doesn't have to be hard. Says Wimbish, "Speak with a financial adviser. Start with having a plan which asks the right questions. Save from your 401(k) or any other employer-based program. Reduce debt."

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