Here's the good news: There really are people out there who think they will be able to retire and be financially comfortable.
Since the economic meltdown in 2008, it seems like a new study has come out every day suggesting that we are all going to spend our old age eating kibble. But the 14th annual Transamerica Retirement Survey reports that confidence has risen 4 points from 2012, with 55 percent of workers saying they are "somewhat" or "very confident" about retirement. I think that's cause for a small celebration -- here's a toast to successful retirement planning.
The Transamerica survey called the people on track to retire "power planners" and found that most fall into one or more of these five categories:
- Knowledgeables: 31 percent believe they know how to to invest their retirement savings successfully.
- The 10 percenters: 22 percent save 10 percent or more of their annual salaries through company-sponsored plans like 401(k)s.
- Future early retirees: 21 percent say they are determined to do what it takes to retire before they reach age 65.
- Strategists: 12 percent have taken the time to create a written retirement plan.
- Conversationalists: 9 percent frequently discuss saving, investing and retirement planning with their family and friends.
These power planners aren't Ubermensches. Some 59 percent of power planners were in only one of these categories; 26 percent fall into two; and 10 percent are in three or more categories. A minute 2 percent can claim four categories, and just 1 percent say they are in all five. About 50 percent of power planners report an annual household income of less than $100,000.
A telling factor is the percentage of power planners who are viewing retirement differently. Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, points out that half of those with household incomes greater than $100,000 plan to work at least part time in retirement. The number rises somewhat for households with lower incomes. Future early retirees are least likely to say they will work in retirement -- just 42 percent -- while 59 percent of conversationalists and 56 percent of strategists intend to stay gainfully employed.
"Power planners are re-envisioning their retirement lifestyles," Collinson says. "They are mapping out where the money will come from and how it is going to be spent. If there is a gap, they are making the hard decisions."