America’s Retirement Score Is Declining: Here’s Why

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Americans are less ready for retirement today than they were just a few years ago, according to Fidelity Investments’ latest Retirement Savings Assessment.

A challenging financial climate — brought on by everything from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic to a slumping stock market and banking woes — has people saving less and investing more conservatively than before.

As a result, America’s Retirement Score now stands at 78, down from an all-time high of 83 in 2020. That means Fidelity estimates that American savers will have just 78% of the income they need to cover expenses in retirement.

Some savers are struggling more than others. Fidelity divided savers into four categories of preparedness, and its analysis is based upon a national online survey of more than 3,500 working households that earn at least $25,000 annually.

Following is where America’s retirement preparedness stands, category by category.

On target

Seniors happy and relaxed in retirement
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Retirement scores in this “zone”: above 95

Households whose retirement score is in this “zone”: 32% (down from 37% in 2020)

The good news is that roughly one-third of savers are heading toward a solid retirement. People in this group are able to cover more than 95% of total estimated expenses, both essential and discretionary, during their post-work years.

However, the percentage qualifying for this category is down 5% from 2020.


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Retirement scores in this “zone”: 81-95

Households whose retirement score is in this “zone”: 16% (down from 17% in 2020)

Folks in this category are still in pretty good shape for a decent retirement. They should be able to cover at least their essential expenses.

However, they might come up a bit short on discretionary spending, such as money needed for travel and entertainment.


Couple reviewing financial documents in their kitchen
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Retirement scores in this “zone”: 65-80

Households whose retirement score is in this “zone”: 18% (unchanged from 2020)

Those who land in this category will likely have to make modest adjustments to their lifestyle during retirement.

If the thought of paring back on expenses during your golden years sounds unappealing, now is the time to begin saving and investing more. To get started, check out “7 Keys to Stress-Free Retirement Investing.”

Needs attention

Couple unhappy about rising costs
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Retirement scores in this “zone”: under 65

Households whose retirement score is in this “zone”: 34% (up from 28% in 2020)

Unfortunately, more people land in this category than any of the others. Folks in this situation will likely have to make significant adjustments to their lifestyle during retirement.

If you fall into this category, don’t give up: No matter how close you are to retirement — or even if you already are in it — there are always ways to improve your financial situation.

Start by educating yourself about “The 17 Best Retirement Investments to Achieve Your Financial Goals.”

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