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Recession aftereffects continue to blight US retirees

United States, May 2, 2016

Though seven years have passed since the economic crisis, non-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) has found the ‘Great Recession’ is still impacting many retirees in the US.

Group of people of different ages

The newly released 118-page compendium on The Current State of Retirement: A Compendium of Findings About American Retirees, provides in-depth perspectives on retirees, including attitudes about life in retirement, time commitments, living arrangements, and personal finances.

Less than half of survey respondents say they have either fully recovered or were not financially impacted by the 2007-2009 crisis. Thirty-five percent say they have somewhat recovered, eight percent have not yet begun to recover, and 12 percent feel they may never recover from it.

Ill-equipped for aftershocks

"The good news is that most retirees are enjoying life," says Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. "But the concerning news is that many may be ill-equipped to deal with a financial shock such as the possible need for long-term care."

The Compendium offers more than 50 indicators of retirees' health and wealth by age range. These include 10 facts, such as the finding that 'just getting by' or covering basic living expenses is the most frequently cited financial priority for most retirees in the US.

Just getting by and/or covering basic living expenses is retirees' most frequently cited financial priority

Catherine Collinson President, TCRS

Social security is seen as the cornerstone of retirement income, the report finds, with 89 percent of US retirees ranking it above other savings and investments, and company-funded pension plans.

Despite seventy-two percent of retirees stating they are "somewhat" or "very" confident that they will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle during retirement, fewer than half (46 percent) agree that they have built a large enough retirement nest egg.

Baby Boomer time bomb

"As Baby Boomers retire, Social Security and other benefit programs will likely be under even greater strain." said Collinson. "It's imperative that policymakers, employers, industry, individuals and families work together to find solutions so that the retirees of today and tomorrow can have a comfortable retirement."

The Compendium provides new insights and serves as a follow-up to the December 2015 report, The Current State of Retirement: Pre-Retiree Expectations and Retiree Realities, which compares and contrasts the retirement outlook of age 50+ workers with the actual experiences of retirees.

Who is TCRS?

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) is a division of Transamerica Institute, a nonprofit, private foundation dedicated to identifying, researching and educating the public about retirement, health coverage, and other relevant financial issues facing Americans today. Transamerica Institute is funded by contributions from Aegon's US subsidiary, Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties.