American pre-retirees are not taking retirement planning seriously, according to a LIMRA study. Twenty-five percent of the 33 million U.S. pre-retirees, surveyed, said they felt “very prepared” for retirement, down from 30 percent of those surveyed in 2010.

The study considered the pre-retiree population as people between the age of 55 and 70 who have not yet retired. Thirty percent of males said they were very prepared compared to 23 percent of females. Also, people with financial advisors seem to be in a better position with 39 percent of the very prepared already having advisors versus 20 percent who did not.

Fewer households have more than $100,000 in financial assets for retirement, compared to earlier years, the study shows. Only 38 percent of the pre-retirees have more than $100,000 of financial assets with the majority being below the $100,000 mark. 

“Pre-retirees’ circumstances have not improved over the past several years with fewer pre-retiree households having $100,000 or more in financial assets (45 percent in 2007 to 38 percent in 2010),” Matthew Drinkwater, an associate managing director of retirement research at LIMRA, said in a statement. “Even more troubling, our survey revealed that pre-retirees have unrealistic expectations regarding how much income they will need and their ability to work in retirement.”

Pre-retirees believe they will need less than 67 percent of their current income during retirement compared to the 70 percent to 80 percent level, which is generally recommended. They also think they will need to withdraw around nine percent of their assets annually to pay basic and discretionary expenses.

Working in retirement is what most of the pre-retirees are considering. However, previous research by LIMRA shows that less than a third of current retirees have jobs. “It is important for pre-retirees to recognize that they might be forced to retire before they planned or be unable to work in retirement — diminishing their accumulation years and requiring them to stretch their savings for longer periods than planned,” Drinkwater said.

This story first appeared at Financial Planning

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