Why Even the Wealthy are Biting Their Nails Over Retirement

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This may surprise you, but even affluent Americans fret about money issues in retirement.

Wealthy Americans seem to have the same retirement worries as their less-affluent counterparts, including concerns about having enough money saved for retirement, reducing personal debt and curbing overspending.

The Merrill Edge Report is focused on the financial concerns and priorities of affluent Americans, defined as households with investable assets ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.

The survey revealed a big difference in opinion about money and retirement between affluent working Americans and their retired counterparts, which could be because the financial landscape of retirement is becoming more complex amid rising health care costs and Social Security concerns.

“The most stressful part about planning for retirement for me is all summed up into one word – uncertainty,” said one survey respondent.

Based on their retirement savings, 73 percent of affluent retirees said they’re confident they have enough money to last them through retirement, while just 57 percent of nonretired wealthy Americans said they think they’ll have enough money for retirement.

“Unknown factors scare me the most about retirement,” said one survey respondent. “Will Social Security still be around? Will my employer change or eliminate my pension plan or cut retiree benefits? What will medical costs be like or will a family member have a catastrophic illness?”

While the majority (59 percent) of affluent retired Americans said they don’t feel stressed about their retirement finances, just 33 percent of nonretirees could say the same.

“Perhaps one cause of this anticipated financial stress is that a large number of nonretired Americans believe they’ll need to rely on their personal savings and investments to live on in retirement,” said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge. “Even though current retirees report they are not as anxious about money, younger Americans can learn from their example — that preparation pays off.”

One survey respondent said the key to lowering financial stress in retirement is simple: “I feel that what has made my retirement secure is during my productive years I lived below my income and invested wisely.”

Obviously, that piece of financial advice is sound, though it’s likely easier for an affluent American than a low-income American to save more and spend less of their income.

Are you worried that you haven’t saved enough for retirement? Check out “Behind on Retirement Savings? Here Is What To Do.” Find more tips in “The 10 Golden Rules of Retiring Rich.”

What are your biggest financial worries for retirement? Share your comments below or, better still, visit our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth and, most important, post questions and get answers.

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