WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Half of Americans who are not yet retired think they will have enough money to live comfortably after they retire. This is the first time since 2007 that more Americans think they will be able to live comfortably than fear they will not be able to -- although they are only slightly more likely to believe this.
Prior to 2008, a majority of nonretired Americans consistently thought they would be able to live comfortably in retirement. But this dropped to 46% early during the U.S. recession in 2008, and stayed below 50% until this year. In 2012, fewer than four in 10 nonretirees thought they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
Notably, whereas 50% of nonretirees expect to live comfortably in retirement, this is lower than the 77% of current retirees who say they have enough money to live comfortably. The percentage of retirees who report they are currently living comfortably also slightly exceeds the percentage of nonretirees who say they are currently living comfortably (69%), representing a consistent pattern over time.
Americans Closest to Retirement Age Are Most Mixed
Americans who are approaching retirement age, those aged 50 to 64, are more divided about whether they will have the money to live comfortably after retirement than those who are 18 to 49 years of age.
Americans who are closest to the conventional retirement age are generally worried about retirement. They are the age group most likely to think they will retire after age 65. Furthermore, 68% of 50- to 64-year-olds are very or moderately worried about having enough money for retirement, although this is similar to the percentage of 30- to 49-year-olds who say the same.
For the first time since before the recession, nonretirees are slightly more likely to think they will have enough money to live comfortably after retirement than think they will not have enough. Retirement worries are greatest among Americans aged 50 and older who are approaching retirement age and least among younger Americans.
This uptick in confidence in having enough money to retire comfortably may be related to the recent rises in the stock market. And while 401(k) accounts, which most nonretired Americans plan to rely on for income when they retire, dropped in value during the financial crisis, many are regaining their value, which could be easing Americans' fears about having a comfortable retirement.
Additional insights on retirement are available through the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. The Index provides quarterly updates on U.S. investors' economic optimism, as well as their views on a variety of savings and retirement issues.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 3-6, 2014, with a random sample of 1,026 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
For results based on the sample of 334 retirees, the margin of sampling error is ±7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
For results based on the sample of 692 nonretirees, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.