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Anxious and Distracted: The 2014 Massachusetts Financial Security Survey of Registered Voters Age 45+

While a priority, life keeps getting in the way of saving for retirement for Massachusetts registered voters age 45+. Many are anxious about their retirement years and worried about having enough money in savings. A majority supports a work and save retirement tool.

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Key findings include:

  • Over half of all respondents (57%) are very or somewhat anxious about having enough money during their retirement years.
  • While saving for retirement ranked as the top financial priority, almost one in five (18%) are saving none of their annual income for retirement and a quarter (23%) do not know how much they are currently saving.
  • The top three financial worries are not being able to save enough for retirement (45%), having an unexpected financial emergency (34%), and not knowing if you can pay your bills (27%).
  • Nearly half (46%) worry that Social Security won’t be enough money for them to get by on. About four in ten are concerned Social Security won’t be there when they need it (38%) or they won’t have enough savings to last their lifetime (37%).  One in five (21%) are concerned they will never be able to retire.
  • About a quarter (23%) of employed respondents do not have access to a workplace savings plan because their employer does not offer the option. Most respondents who are offered a workplace retirement savings plan do contribute (58%). 
  • Among those who do not contribute to their workplace retirement savings plan, over a quarter (26%) say there isn’t enough money left over to do so.
  • Retirement savings tools used by respondents are personal savings accounts, (69%), personal investments in stocks and bonds (49%) and non-employer retirement accounts (40%).
  • Among all respondents, the top obstacles to saving for retirement are not having money left over after paying bills (36%), paying for children’s education (32%), and covering a major health issue (30%). Over half (55%) agree that they could benefit from professional financial advice.
  • Almost six in ten (59%) Massachusetts registered voters age 45+ support the set-up of a state-ran retirement savings plan; the support increases to 62 percent if the plan resembles a 529 college savings plan.

The AARP 2014 Massachusetts Financial Security Survey was conducted as a telephone survey among registered voters age 45 or older in Massachusetts. The survey examined the opinions and experiences on issues related to personal finance and retirement planning. The interviews were conducted in English by Precision Opinion from July 17th to July 23rd, 2014. The sample utilized a voter list that targeted age 45+ based on the census division information from the state of Massachusetts. For more information, contact Brittne Nelson at bnelson@aarp.org.


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