Updated with correction
Fifty-five percent of workers are somewhat or very confident about retirement, the highest level since 2007, according to a report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
That 55% is up from 51% last year, but still below the 2007 confidence level of 59%. Not surprisingly, 62% of respondents said they are less confident about retirement since the recession began.
Most of the rest of the survey's results, however, were surprising, said Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Ms. Collinson said across all demographics, the majority of respondents plan on working past age 65, with the exception of millennials (those born in 1979 or after), at 44%.
“It is very clear and evident in the research … that retirement confidence is not synonymous with retirement readiness,” Ms. Collinson said. She added a big reason for delaying retirement is living in a world of such uncertainty such as interest rates, market volatility and health-care costs.
Even 52% of households making more than $100,000 plan on working past 65.
“Today's reality is that many people will have to work after 65 and will have to, or want to, work at least part-time in retirement,” Ms. Collinson said. Fifty-seven percent of respondents plan on working past age 65 and 54% plan on working at least part-time in retirement. She added the trend really emerged in 2011 and appears to be here to stay.
The report also looks at five categories of people who are the closest to retirement readiness, dubbed the “power planners.” The categories are future early retirees, 21% plan on retiring before age 65; 10 percenters, 22% said they save 10% or more of their salary each year through retirement plans; strategists, 12% who have a written retirement plan; knowledgeables, 31% who believe they know what they should about retirement investing; and conversationalists, 9% said they frequently discuss retirement planning and investing with family and friends. Respondents could fit into more than one category.
Ms. Collinson said she was “wildly surprised” to see how many respondents fit into one of the Power Planner categories. A “jaw dropping” 59% of all respondents fit into one of the five categories. However, only 26% fit into two or more, 10% into three or more and only 13 people of the 3,651 people surveyed fit into all five. She said it is very exciting to see the action people are taking, but that the results also show there is “ample room for improvement.” The 10 percenters have median household savings of $161,000, more than triple that of all workers at $53,000.
The age and household income groups are widely represented throughout the five Power Planner categories, displaying that the affluent are not the only ones closer to retirement readiness, Ms. Collinson said. More than half reported a household income of less than $100,000.
The entire report is available on Transamerica's website.