News, Syndicated Studies

Survey: Retirement Crisis? Most Retirees Say They’re Doing Okay

Washington, DC (May 29, 2024) – Nearly three in four retirees are confident that they have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement – with a majority saying they’re living the way they envisioned and spending money how they want to, within reason.

An overwhelming majority of retirees – 71% – told the 2024 Retirement Confidence Survey they’re confident they have enough money to last their entire lifetime.

“The industry likes to talk about a retirement crisis, but the vast majority of retirees report that they are doing OK. It’s important to highlight that retirement doesn’t have to seem so scary. If we made retirement something positive to look forward to, perhaps fewer workers would avoid or dread retirement planning,” says Greenwald Research CEO Lisa Greenwald, whose organization partners with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) to produce the annual survey, now in its 34th year. “There’s still about one-quarter to one-third of retirees who may be struggling. That’s an important group to focus on, but it’s not the retirement experience of most.”

This year’s survey, conducted in January, included 1,266 retirees. Among the key findings:

  • 74% of retirees are confident they have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement.
  • 71% are confident they have enough money to last their entire lifetime.
  • While 35% of retirees say their travel, entertainment or leisure expenses are higher than they expected, nearly four in five say they are able to spend money how they want, within reason.
  • Three in 10 believe their overall lifestyle in retirement is better than expected, and over two-thirds report they are having the retirement lifestyle they envisioned.
  • 70% are confident in Medicare continuing to provide benefits.
  • 65% are confident that Social Security – the top source of income for 91% of retirees – will continue to provide benefits.

Not all the survey findings are encouraging. About one in four retirees say they’d have trouble handling an emergency expense. Another 36% say debt is a problem, and 23% say debt is significantly impacting their ability to live comfortably in retirement.

There remains a disparity between what Americans calculate what they’ll need in retirement and what they’ve actually saved. One-third of surveyed retirees calculated they’d need a nest egg of less than $500k, 53% calculated $500k or more including 32% saying they’d need $1M or more. But in terms of current savings, 64% have less than $500k, 36% have $500k or more including 23% who have $1M or more. Nevertheless, of participants who were able to do the calculation, 57% say they have savings equal to or greater than what they calculated, while 43% have savings less than what they calculated.

More information on the 2024 Retirement Confidence Survey, including the short report, is available online at

About RCS Sponsors
Greenwald Research and EBRI would like to thank the 2024 Retirement Confidence Survey sponsors who helped shape this year’s survey: American Funds/Capital Group; Ameriprise (Columbia Threadneedle); Bank of America; Empower Retirement; Fidelity Investments; FINRA; Jackson National; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Mercer; Mutual of America; Nationwide; NEFE; PGIM; Principal Financial Group; T. Rowe Price USAA, and Voya.

About Greenwald Research
Greenwald Research is a leading independent custom research firm and consulting partner to the health and wealth industries that applies creative quantitative and qualitative methods to produce knowledge that helps companies stay competitive and navigate industry change. By leveraging deep subject matter expertise and a trusted consultative approach, Greenwald offers comprehensive services for weaving rich research stories that answer strategic business questions. For 33 years, Greenwald has partnered with the Employee Benefits Research Institute to conduct the annual Retirement Confidence Survey.

About the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
The Employee Benefit Research Institute is a non-profit, independent and unbiased resource organization that provides the most authoritative and objective information about critical issues relating to employee benefit programs in the United States.

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Herb Perone