Almost all media discussions about retirement conclude that most Americans are financially unprepared. Some paint very dire pictures of the fate of current and upcoming retirees. Yet, surveys of retirees aren’t that pessimistic. Indeed, most retirees and pre-retirees say they’ll be just fine financially, perhaps after making a few adjustments. Consider this discussion of the latest survey. Most say they’ll not only be fine but they’ll be able to leave legacies to their loved ones.
Yet here’s one shred of optimism salvaged from HSBC’s survey of more than 1,000 Americans: Despite shrinking paychecks, disappearing pensions, volatile markets and falling home values, 55 percent of retirees say they were adequately prepared for retirement. That does leave 44 percent not fully prepared, but most of them think they can make up lost ground. Less than one-fifth of retirees say making up their shortfall is hopeless. (For a glimpse of how retirees around the world are set for retirement, see this infographic.)
Not only that, 56 percent of retirees expect to leave an inheritance. Authors of the HSBC report warn that retirees might not be as well-prepared as they think, nor as able to be as generous as they had planned, after the costs of health care and long-term care take their toll. Still, Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy estimates that north of $41 trillion could transfer to charities and younger generations by 2055.