Aug 14, 2023 - News

What's worrying D.C.'s retirees

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll. Chart: Axios Visuals

While some DMV residents say they feel confident about retiring thanks to federal pensions and savings, others are worried about their portfolios and when they could stop working.

The big picture: Most Americans want to retire, but only half feel like they're able to save for the future.

  • Many Americans who haven't yet retired say they are unprepared for retirement, unsure how to prepare, and unsure if they even want to fully retire, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

Zoom in: Some D.C. residents said they will need to cut back on spending.

  • "I will reduce expenses and consider part-time work to reduce the amount I withdraw from my 401(k)/403(b)," said Isabelle B. in D.C., who hopes to retire in the next year.

Others said they will rely on pensions from the government but still are wary of transitioning into retirement.

  • "I'm a retiring Army officer and still get a pension, but I'm one of the last that will," said Patrick S. of Ashburn, Virginia. "For me to get my kids through college and to pay my mortgage, I'm definitely looking at a second career (probably with better earning potential)."

Zoom out: One in five poll respondents says they don't think they will ever retire.

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

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.

  • On top of that, "roughly half the workforce, we're talking 50 plus million people, work for an employer that doesn't offer a retirement plan," AARP senior policy adviser David John tells Axios. That could mean a small business or gig work.

The bottom line: Retirement may seem out of reach, but it remains a goal for most Americans, and those who have retired say they're content. Sixty-eight percent of retirees agree that they feel better than ever now that they've retired.

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