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U.S. Investors More Confident About Retirement Finances

U.S. Investors More Confident About Retirement Finances

Story Highlights

  • 78% confident they can maintain their lifestyle throughout retirement
  • Up from 69% confident in August 2014
  • Percentage worried about running out of money in retirement down to 36%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than three in four U.S. investors (78%) are confident they will be able to maintain the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement, a nine-percentage-point bump from August 2014.

More Investors Confident About Living Well in Retirement
How confident are you that you will have enough money to maintain the lifestyle you want throughout your retirement -- highly confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not confident at all?
Highly confident Somewhat confident Not too confident Not confident at all
% % % %
February 2017 31 47 15 7
August 2014 26 43 21 10
Wells Fargo/Gallup

The hike in investors' optimism about retirement finances in the 2017 first-quarter Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey likely fed off growing optimism about the investment climate in the U.S., with the index reaching its highest level since 2000. The survey interviews U.S. investors with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

Investors who are already retired are more likely to be confident about their ability to maintain their retirement lifestyle (87%) than are nonretired investors (74%). Among the factors likely creating the disparity: Individuals who are confident they have enough money to retire are more likely to be able to do so than those who lack that confidence. Additionally, those who have already retired benefit from the hindsight of not seeing their standard of living get worse, likely boosting their continued confidence.

Along similar lines, 85% of those with investments of at least $100,000 are confident in their ability to maintain their lifestyle, compared with 68% of those with investments totaling less than $100,000. The 17-point confidence gap between the two groups is down slightly from 25 points in August 2014, driven by a particularly large jump in confidence among those with less than $100,000 in investments.

Investors' increased optimism about their retirement finances mirrors the results of a Gallup poll conducted in April that included noninvestors as well as investors. That poll found an increase in the percentage of nonretirees who think they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire.

Fewer Investors Worried About Outliving Retirement Savings

A separate question in the current investor survey finds that 36% of investors say they are worried they will outlive their retirement savings -- a 10-point drop from the 46% who said they were worried in August 2014. Among those who are worried, 5% say they are "very" worried and 31% say "somewhat" worried.

Worries Recede About Running Out of Money in Retirement
How worried are you that you will outlive your retirement savings in retirement -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried or not worried at all?
Very worried Somewhat worried Not too worried Not worried at all
% % % %
February 2017 5 31 35 28
August 2014 12 34 30 24
Wells Fargo/Gallup

Retired investors are less likely than nonretired investors to say they're worried they will outlive their retirement savings (27% and 40%, respectively). Along the same lines, those with investments of at least $100,000 are less worried (30%) than those with less than $100,000 in investments (45%).

Bottom Line

More than three in four U.S. investors are confident that they will be able to afford the kind of lifestyle they want throughout their retirement. Confidence climbs even higher among those who have amassed $100,000 or more in investments.

The increased confidence coincides with growing optimism among U.S. investors about the national economy and, to a lesser extent, their personal finances. The stock market's continuing ascent to record-breaking heights this year has been a major source of increased optimism for investors, many of whom have seen their net worth grow stronger as a result.

These circumstances have helped boost the percentage of investors who are confident that they'll have sufficient financial resources to maintain the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement -- and that they'll not run out of money during their golden years. In August 2014, 46% felt they were on solid enough financial ground to not worry about running out of money in retirement and to be confident they could maintain their lifestyle. Now, a majority of investors (56%) find themselves in that enviable position.

Survey Methods

Results for this Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 10-19, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,007 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and having investments of $10,000 or more.

For results based on the total sample of investors, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index works.

Gallup


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