In its annual Retirement Confidence Survey of current workers and retirees, the Employee Benefit
Research Institute found that workers' confidence in their ability to fund retirement fell by the largest extent
since the financial crisis of 2008, to levels not seen since 2018. Retirees' confidence also took a substantial
hit. Overall, just 20% of respondents felt very confident they will be able to afford a comfortable retirement.

The percentage of workers who felt at least somewhat confident in their ability to afford retirement
plummeted nine percentage points, from 73% in 2022 to just 64% in 2023. For retirees, the drop was four
percentage points — from 77% in 2022 to 73% in 2023. Although retirees' confidence remained higher than
workers' — a historical trend — just 27% of retirees were very confident, down from 33% last year and the
lowest percentage since 2009.

The top two reasons workers gave for a lack of confidence were having little or no savings/being
unprepared/can't afford it (40% of respondents) and the rising cost of living/inflation (29%). Those reasons
mirrored retiree responses, but in reverse order; 42% of retirees who lack confidence were concerned
about inflation, while 25% said they had little or no savings, were unprepared, or unable to afford it.

Cost of living a major worry

Inflation was a recurring theme throughout this year's report.

  • 84% of workers and 67% of retirees were concerned that inflation will make it harder to save money.
  • 73% of workers and 58% of retirees were worried that they will have to cut their spending substantially
    due to inflation.
  • Nearly half of retirees said their overall spending is higher than expected, compared with just 36% in
  • Just 58% of workers (down from 67% in 2022) believed they would have enough money to keep up with
    the rising cost of living in retirement.

In fact, inflation and the economy were the two most common concerns cited by both groups.

Concern  Workers  Retirees
Inflation will stay high for at least the next 12 months 86% 79%
The U.S. economy will go into a recession in the next 12 months 80% 74%
The U.S. government making significant changes to the American
retirement system
80% 71%
Interest rates will continue to go up 80% 62%
Housing costs will rise 76% 55%
The stock market will be increasingly volatile and unpredictable 74% 65%
The stock market will be lower in 12 months than it is now 65% 58%
Another public health emergency or lockdown in the next 12 months 54% 53%

Percentage of workers and retirees who said they were at least somewhat concerned about the event affecting their finances in retirement. The survey was conducted in January and February 2023.

A perspective on income strategies

When asked what they intend to do with their workplace retirement savings plan money when they retire,
workers gave the following responses:

Strategy Respondents
Roll money into an IRA 36%
Keep the money in their workplace retirement savings plan 30%
Cash it out and put the funds into another investment or savings account 28%
Purchase a product that guarantees monthly income for life 21%
Cash it out and spend it 9%
Don't know 16%

Younger workers were more likely than older workers to say they would cash out the plan and put the
money into another investment or savings account or buy a guaranteed income product. Those with at least
$100,000 were more likely than those with less than $10,000 to report that they would roll over the money
to an IRA.

More workers seem to be seeking experienced guidance when it comes to managing their retirement
strategies; 34% are currently working with a financial professional, up from 29% in 2022, and more than
half expect to do so in the future, up from 45% in 2022.



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