Jul 27, 2023 - News
Retiring in America

South Florida residents fret over retirement

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

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

One in five Americans don't think they'll be able to retire, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

Why it matters: Fewer workers have access to reliable pensions, writes Axios' Felix Salmon.

  • Most Americans retiring now are the first generation to rely primarily on private savings to navigate the financial vortex once they age out of the workforce.

By the numbers: Pensions are more common among those already retired: 54% of current retirees say they utilize a pension to fund their retirement, while only 30% who aren't yet retired say they will rely on a pension.

  • Just 36% of people 55 and older say they'll be able to retire at the time they expected.

Zoom in: After we asked our readers for their retirement stories in the spring, we heard back from South Florida retirees worried about everything from medical emergencies to alimony.

  • Susan B. was a public school teacher who paid into a pension system rather than Social Security. "Due to frequent layoffs, I've had to withdraw most of the paltry retirement funds from various public education funds," she wrote.
  • Jorge R. will retire at 53 with a Florida state pension, but until he's 65 and old enough for Medicare, he'll have to pay for health insurance out of pocket. "The cost of housing here is insane," he wrote. "I will have to move away or continue to work until I die."
  • Ava S., 68, has been surprised by costs, especially insurance, compared to her prior home state of New Jersey. "Florida may have been an affordable place to retire for my parents back in the 1980s, but that Florida no longer exists," she said.

The other side: Most retired Americans say they feel better than ever, pollsters found.

Be smart: Jeff Johnson, director of AARP Florida, suggests people use financial advisers with a fiduciary responsibility for their planning, meaning they commit to making decisions for their client's well-being and not their own compensation, Axios Tampa Bay's Selene San Felice reports.

  • "There's a lot of value in knowing how anybody you turn to for advice is making their money off of the conversation," Johnson said.

Of note: AARP has an online tool to screen financial advisers, plus a Fraud Watch Network to help with things like proactively spotting scams.

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