4 surprising facts you may not know about retirement

Saving money for retirement is important, but so is paying off debt. So which should you prioritize?

The thought of retiring can either conjure up stress or sighs of relief, depending on how prepared one is to do so. According to a recently published Quinnipiac University poll, most fall in the stress category when considering retirement.

The poll, which was published on March 30, found that 68% of American respondents were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about whether they’ll have enough money to “live comfortably during retirement.” Following the trends of rising living costs across the country, saving expectations for a comfortable retirement has also increased by 10% to $1.04 million in 2021, according to data compiled by Annuity.org.

“When it comes to the golden years, Americans young, old and in-between share the same worry. There’s a cloud of doubt hanging over the quality of life they’ll have when they retire, especially among those between 35 and 64 years of age,” Quinnipiac University professor Osman Kilic said in a press release that accompanied the survey results.

Those considering retirement have to consider the proper age to retire, how much they need to save, and several other financial and lifestyle factors. Here are a few facts you need to know about retiring in America:

There’s more time: People are retiring later

Some of the pressure surrounding retirement might have to do with the myth that people are retiring before 60. In fact, the average retirement age in the United States is 64. The full retirement age is 67 for those born after 1959. Retiring before age 67 would decrease Social Security benefits by varying percentages based on your age. Find out more at ssa.gov.

Women tend to have less money and strategy for retirement

With factors like the wage gap, divorce, and single homeownership, women are disproportionately at a disadvantage in the retirement realm. According to a report from TransAmerica. American women have an average savings of $57,000 for retirement, yet men have an average total retirement savings of $118,000.

The financial limitation is coupled with a lack of strategy for some, according to the research. A third of women (33%) have no retirement strategy. Of those women who do have a retirement strategy, just 24% have it written down.

There are freebies and discounts at retirement age

Though it’s challenging saving and preparing for retirement, there are several perks. The IRS provides free tax preparation for individuals 60 and older. The AARP Foundation also has a Tax-Aide program to help income-eligible seniors find tax breaks after retirement.

Seniors and retirees can also take advantage of discounts on weatherizing their homes and energy bills, according to the National Council on Aging.

Most Americans are saving towards their retirement

The main worry is savings for many adult workers, with 48% of workers under the belief that they don’t make enough money to save for retirement, according to Annuity.org. Still, there are more Americans saving their income for retirement than not, according to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances — the most recent version of that survey — the median retirement savings for all families is $65,000.

The average retirement savings by age is:

  • Under 35: $30,170
  • 35-44: $131,950
  • 45-54: $254,720
  • 55-64: $408,420
  • 65-74: $426,070