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Poll: Financial Insecurity Continues to be a Factor in Retirement

Monday, November 9, 2015

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 9, 2015 — Financial insecurity continues to loom large on Americans according to the latest poll results from the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.

The survey, completed last month, finds that 77.5 percent of those surveyed say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about their financial security upon retirement. That is down from 80.6 percent in February, though still within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin-for-error.

Interestingly, notes Joseph Angelelli, a gerontologist and RMU assistant professor of health services administration, the percentage of those surveyed saying they are “very concerned” rose nationally from 37.6 percent in February to 42.3 percent. Among Pennsylvanians surveyed, the number of “very concerned” rose by only three-tenths of a percent from February.

Angelelli said any shift in opinions bears continued scrutiny as a larger segment of the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement. Nationwide, Angelelli said, more than 10,000 Americans retire every day. The average reported age, upon retirement, was 62.27 – about the same as 62.31 reported in February 2015.

Just over one-half of all respondents, 51.9%, suggested they have family or friends to rely on in retirement. This is down somewhat from 55.5% found in February 2015.

Retirement savings is also a concern among the population. Nationwide, 40.8 percent of those surveyed said they had begun saving for retirement but not yet finished. That’s down slightly from 45.1 percent in February’s survey. In Pennsylvania, the figures are 47.8 percent who have started but not finished saving for retirement, also down from 55.9 percent in February.

"The retirement landscape has changed dramatically for this generation. Think of the uncertainties one must consider:  Improvements in health care might dramatically extend one's life, the rules of the road for Social Security and for Medicare are anything but fixed and can be changed at the whim of Congress,” said Bob Beaves, professor of finance at RMU. “Health care costs increase significantly year over year and interest rates for the ‘safe’ investment retirees often rely upon are unpredictable and could remain near all-time lows.”

Both in Pennsylvania and nationwide, 15.5 percent of those surveyed said they have finished saving for retirement. That figure represents a rise among Pennsylvanians. In February’s survey, the number who said they had completed saving was only 12.8 percent.

“It could be that we’re starting to see retirement happen in earnest with the aging of the Baby Boomers here and that’s reflective of the people who say they’re finished with retirement savings,” said Angelelli.

ABOUT THE POLL: The poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute. Polling by the institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events. RMU polls have been featured in national media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post. Go to rmu.edu/poll for more information.

METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 1,000 adults approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted Oct. 10-15, 2015. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.5-percentage point margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. The poll separately sampled opinions of 523 Pennsylvania residents statewide during the same time period and employing the same methodology. The Pennsylvania results have a +/- 4.5-percentage point margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 45 states and 41 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more at rmu.edu.