Jul 31, 2023 - News
Retiring in America

Coloradans are sweating retirement. Here's what they're saying

Illustration of a nervous piggy bank with a sweat drop on its face.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

While some Coloradans feel confident about their retirement plans, others express uncertainty about their financial future.

The big picture: The story is the same across the country. One in five Americans say they don't think they will ever be able to retire, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

  • Just 36% of those 55 and older — nearing typical retirement age — say they'll be able to retire at the time they expected.

Zoom in: People 65 and older account for about 16% of the state's population, per Census Bureau figures.

  • Many of them who responded to our recent survey highlighted uncertainty around taxes and inflation, plus concerns about health care costs and other variables that might come up.
  • Even some who have savings and have worked with financial planners remain worried.

What they're saying: "Hopefully, depending on health care costs, I should be OK," says Denver resident Steven B., 65. But a "major health crisis … could derail the best-laid plans."

  • Nancy M., 70, in Colorado Springs, tells us she is living on Social Security and has started supplementing her income with side gigs and part-time work, but it "doesn't keep pace" with rising costs of living.
  • Suzanne M., a 74-year-old in Centennial, is also struggling. "My property taxes have doubled. My Social Security has not. I feel there is a conspiracy to make sure I am not allowed to age in my home."

Meanwhile, Rick S. from Lakewood, 60, says he's in a comfortable position but faces another problem. "I've used many different online retirement planners and no two give similar results. Which one do I believe? This is my biggest frustration."

  • Bridget M., a 39-year-old teacher in Denver, says she will "move somewhere there is a lower cost of living than Colorado" when she retires to stretch her funds further.

The intrigue: John H. in Lafayette, 71, decided to "unretire" to launch a professional practice as a financial therapist, not to make money, but to help others in need.

  • "The inherent level of anxiety built into the 401(k) retirement model is an unrecognized mental health issue among my generation," he tells us. He now works to "combine the emotional issues in managing retirement funds along with basics of financial planning."

By the numbers: 30% of people still in the workforce plan to use a pension to help fund their future retirement, compared with 54% of retirees who say they're using pension money, according to the Axios-Ipsos poll.

Between the lines: A lot of retirees are leaving Colorado.

  • The state saw the 10th highest net loss of people 60 and older in 2021, per a 2023 SmartAsset report. More than 5,200 retirees left the state that year.

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