Rich People Stressed About Retirement, Too

They might make up the “one percent,” but wealthy Americans worry about retiring comfortably.

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Their concerns might be laughed (or booed) out of an Occupy encampment, but affluent Americans are also feeling the pinch of hard times, especially when it comes to retirement. A new survey by Wells Fargo found that even wealthy Americans are increasingly worried that they won’t be able to comfortably retire.

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It might be hard to sympathize with people who own $100,000 or more in investable assets (Wells Fargo’s definition of affluence), but the survey results suggest deep-seated anxiety, even among the rich. Consider these findings:

  • More than one-third of the affluent respondents said they needed to “significantly” scale back spending to save for retirement.
  • Four in 10 respondents said they worry that even if they “do all the right things,” they still won’t have enough saved for retirement—a fear likely fueled by the dismal stock market returns of the last decade.
  • One in four said they are not sure they will be able to save enough for retirement. Those without written retirement plans were especially likely to worry about that. About 54 percent of the affluent respondents said they had detailed written retirement plans, compared with 30 percent of middle-class respondents.
  • One in five respondents between ages 60 and 75 were not sure when they would be able to retire, with 12 percent saying they will need to work until age 80 or older. (By comparison, about 25 percent of middle-class Americans say they will work until age 80 or older.)
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    • Almost one-third of respondents named healthcare bills as a top financial concern, followed by monthly bills.
    • Women are less confident about affording retirement than men; one in three female respondents said they aren’t confident they will have enough saved to retire, compared with 18 percent of male respondents.
    • The affluent men surveyed had saved a median of $400,000 for retirement, compared with the $250,000 saved by affluent women. Men are also more likely to receive a pension, with 57 percent anticipating one compared to 47 percent of women. (Older respondents, age 60 and up, were also far more likely to have pensions than younger respondents.)
    • The bottom line: Americans across all income levels are stressed about retirement at a time of weak stock market returns, rising healthcare costs, and a stagnant job market.

      Twitter: @alphaconsumer