The Top 7 Retirement Concerns for Americans in 2020

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Older woman working on laptop and stressed
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Amidst the financial uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are increasingly anxious about not just the present, but their financial futures.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Americans say they are more concerned about retirement than they were a year ago, according to the latest Retirement Confidence Index from SimplyWise, a website that helps consumers estimate their Social Security benefits. That figure is up from 56% in May.

The SimplyWise report identifies the biggest concerns Americans share about retirement. Here is a look at each, along with our suggestions to improve your outlook.

7. Feeling bored or lonely

A worried senior black woman sits on her couch
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Nearly one-quarter of Americans (24%) worry about feeling bored or lonely in retirement.

Isolation can contribute to that feeling. More than one-quarter (25.9%) of those 65 and older live alone, according to the Census Bureau.

Avoiding loneliness is among our “5 Compelling Reasons to Postpone Retirement.”

6. Having too much debt

Retiree trying to lower her inflation risk
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More than one-quarter (28%) of Americans are concerned they’ll have too much debt in retirement.

It’s not uncommon to retire with debt, particularly a mortgage. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson weighed the pros and cons of having a mortgage during retirement in “Your Top 5 Retirement Questions, Answered.

One of his considerations: If you focus on eliminating debt now, you’ll have more cash in retirement.

5. Not being able to retire at all

An older man working
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SimplyWise found 72% of Americans plan to continue working in retirement, and 24% plan to tap into their 401(k) to get by right now.

More than a third (37%) have concerns they won’t be able to retire at all.

If you share this concern, check out “6 Ways to Guarantee Yourself a Steady Retirement Income.

4. Paying daily living expenses

broke senior
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Nearly 4 in 10 Americans (39%) are concerned about being able to afford living expenses in retirement.

This worry may be amplified by the fact 1 in 5 Americans could not currently last more than two weeks on their savings.

One possible balm to this fear is to chart out exactly where your income will be coming from, as we explain in “5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement.”

3. Paying medical bills

senior man woman worried computer papers
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Nearly half (47%) of Americans worry about paying medical bills in retirement, SimplyWise found.

To prepare for the costs of health care in retirement, start by learning what common medical expenses Medicare won’t cover. And consider augmenting your retirement savings with a health savings account.

2. Outliving savings

Older man holding an empty wallet
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Exactly half of Americans worry they will outlive their savings.

As we explain in “11 Essential Money Moves to Make in Your 60s — and Beyond,” you’ll eventually be required to take a certain amount out of most types of retirement accounts each year. This annual withdrawal, mandated by Uncle Sam, is called a required minimum distribution, or RMD.

1. Social Security will be gone

A senior couple stressed about Social Security
Iakov Filimonov /

More than half (55%) of Americans are concerned Social Security will run dry by the time they need it.

People have had good reason to fear the demise of Social Security since at least the 1980s, and probably since the program was created in 1935, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains in “Will Social Security Still Be There When I Retire?

But so far, each generation has taken steps to ensure Social Security survives.

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