Gallup: Expectations of ‘comfortable retirement’ hit lowest levels since 2012

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Inflation has driven expectations of a comfortable retirement among working adults to their lowest level in annual Gallup polling since 2012, the company reported Thursday.

Among nonretired adults responding to the company’s latest survey, just 43% said they expect to be able to “live comfortably in retirement,” down from 48% last year and 53% in 2021. It’s the most pessimistic response since 38% said the same in 2012, the historic low since Gallup first asked the question in 2002.

In 2019, 57% of working adults expected a comfortable retirement, just 2 percentage points shy of the all-time high of 59% recorded in 2004.

Declining expectations since 2019 have come amid “sustained high inflation,” the polling company noted.

“This may be due to difficulty saving money when prices are high or the result of uncertainty about the future of the Social Security system,” Gallup said. “Meanwhile, current retirees’ reports of living comfortably are unshaken, with a strong majority continuing to report that they are financially secure.”

Among current retirees, 77% said they are living comfortably — down slightly from 79% last year, 80% in 2021 and 81% in 2020.

Nonretired adults varied in their expectations by sex, age, income and education. Men, workers younger than 30, people with higher incomes and college graduates were likelier than others to expect they will have enough money to quit the workforce.

The latest Gallup poll also asked about eight financial matters, reporting that “Americans worry most about having enough money for retirement.” Among working-age adults, 71% said they are at least moderately worried about having enough funds to stop working, including 42% who said they are “very worried.”

Gallup conducted a randomized national telephone survey of 1,013 adults on April 3-25. The margin of error for the whole sample was plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level and plus or minus 5 percentage points for nonretired adults.