29 Retirement Statistics in 2022: Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Updated · May 05, 2022

We all want to stay young and healthy for as long as possible and live life to the fullest. Nobody wants to think about old age… Or is that just us?

But at some point, such thoughts start creeping in, and we just have to give them our attention. Moreover, planning for the future should be done right now. Not when that future comes and catches us unprepared.

Our goal here at WebTribunal is not to alarm but only to inform.

1In today's retirement statistics, you’ll learn some of the most significant numbers in the area. Hope you’ll be able to reap the benefits for yourself and reach some conclusions.

So relax, sit comfortably, and read on.

Recent Stats and Facts About Retirement (Editor’s Choice):

  • For 2021, the expected sum for a comfortable retirement in America was about $1.047 million.
  • 77% of American employees use both employer-offered retirement savings plans and other options.
  • 80% of retired people in the US have enough money for retirement.
  • Americans retire at a mean age of 62.
  • Based on life expectancy, the average length of retirement in the US is 17.05 years.
  • 30% of men and 22% of women in the US have more than $100,000 in personal retirement savings.
  • $98,800 is the average amount of retirement savings in Americans’ accounts.
  • Each day about 10,000 US baby boomers cross the age of 65.
  • 78% of US retirees don’t rely on income from inheritance.

General Retirement Stats: Expectations and Reality

Well, guys, the time has come. From here on, there’s no turning back. Are you ready for the real stuff? Are you prepared to hear some truths?

Brace yourselves! It will be a long journey. The world of retirement is ahead of all of us. But we are calm and composed, aren’t we? Yes, of course!

1. The actual average retirement age in the US is 62.

(Source: Gallup)

To be more precise, in 2021, Americans retired at the mean age of 62. However, non-retirees expect to stop working at an average age of 64.

Another interesting fact is that since 2002, the actual age of retirement has been lower than the predicted one. Although it’s not clear why this happened, there are some assumptions. Possibly, Americans are retiring earlier because of their physical health, changes in the job market, or the employer’s staff policy. Later on, you’ll see actual reasons why from another survey.

2. 57% of retired Americans rely primarily on Social Security income.

(Source: Gallup)

For 32% of them, Social Security is a minor source of income, while 10% don’t rely on it at all. Also, 39% of US retirees don’t receive payment from savings accounts such as Keogh, IRA, 401(k), or others.

3. The Social Security retirement age in the USA in 2022 is 67 years old.

(Source: US News)

For people born in or after 1960, the full age of retirement is 67. Theoretically, they can start receiving Social Security retirement money at 62 but will get a lower monthly payment.

4. In 2022, life expectancy in the US is 79.05 years.

(Source: Macrotrends)

In comparison, in 2021, life expectancy was 78.99 years, so the increase is 0.08%. It’s not significant, but it’s still an increase. People will live longer, and that’s a good thing.

If you remember, when most people retire (first stat), a simple calculation shows that Americans have 17.05 years to live after retirement. That’s almost the lifespan of a teenager.

Let’s take our calculations a bit further. Those 17.05 years in retirement compose more than one-fifth of our entire lives. Not bad at all.

5. The Great Resignation of August 2021 might have been a mass retirement in the USA.

(Source: Forbes)

In August of 2021, 4.3 million Americans resigned from work. That’s a record number of all time. Some consider it a spiritual awakening prompted by the pandemic since, during this challenging period, people had more time to think about the meaning of life.

Others think of it as more of a massive wave of retirement in the United States. Of those 4.3 million, 1.5 million people were retiring earlier, and 1 million were regular retirees.

6. 54% of American workers expect to have a job after retirement.

(Source: CNBC)

49% of the Millennials plan to work in retirement; for Generation X, that’s 60%; for baby boomers—59%. It turns out that Generation Y is the most optimistic one.

Keep in mind the results in this retirement stat come from a study conducted during the pandemic climax, between March to July 2020. So they might be more pessimistic than usual.

7. Some early retired Americans during COVID-19 are now returning to work.

(Source: USA Today)

The percentage is not that high—only 3.1% have a job again, as of March 2022. Now, the numbers are slowly returning to their pre-pandemic levels, being as low as 2.2% in 2021.

Retirement Finances: Are They Enough?

Every retiree probably dreams of having a calm and peaceful life without financial concerns. But to reach that state, you have to take care of your finances in advance while still at work.

8. 80% of retired Americans claim they have enough money for retirement.

(Source: Gallup)

That’s good news. Most of America’s older generation is well financially. 53% of non-retirees also expect to live comfortably after retirement.

That being said…

9. Not having enough retirement income is still a significant concern among Americans.

(Source: Gallup)

Almost three in five Americans are concerned about having enough finances for retirement. According to the retirement statistics, in 2021, 58% of US residents worried about not having enough pension money. Compared to 2020, when COVID-19 started, we have a 1% drop.

10. If Americans want to retire by 67, they should have saved ten times their annual salary.

(Source: Experian)

Don’t take that literally, and don’t panic if you haven’t saved that much. These are only guidelines from financial experts to help you see where you’re at.

By the age of 60, aim for eight times your annual salary; by 50— six times; by 40—three times; by 30—one time.

11. $172,000 is the estimated median retirement savings for Americans with household income (HHI) above $100,000.

(Source: TransAmerica Institute)

Those with an HHI between $50,000 to $99,999 saved $42,000 for retirement. The ones with a household income below $50,000 saved only $3,000.

Moreover, men saved $91,000, while women saved significantly less—$43,000. Data is for 2021.

12. Baby boomers’ retirement savings statistics show they have a median of $162,000 in household accounts.

(Source: TransAmerica Institute)

Logically, US baby boomers have saved the most because they are the oldest generation.

In comparison:

Keep in mind that these are median figures. You'll see the average ones below.

13. The average American retirement savings grew by 13% in 2021.

(Source: Due)

In 2020, they were $87,500, while in 2021, they became $98,800. Moreover, personal savings have also grown by 10% for the same period—from $65,900 to $73,100.

14. The average amount needed to retire comfortably in 2021 is $1,047,200.

(Source: Northwestern Mutual)

It was $950,800 for the previous year. Also, 43% of Americans believe they’ll outlive their savings. That’s why they actively started looking for ways to address this concern, whether by saving more, having a financial plan, looking for professional advice, investments, researching the topic, or other options.

15. Millennials have average retirement savings of $63,300.

(Source: Due)

Gen Zers have $37,000 on average in retirement savings. Good job to those youngsters! 

The average sum in Generation X’s retirement accounts is $98,900.

Baby boomers, of course, lead the rank again with an average of $102,400 in retirement and personal accounts.

All Spectrum Retirement Demographics

We can look at retirement from many angles—be it gender, generation, state, savings, age, nation, etc. Some of those we’ll discuss below.

16. The generation of younger adults expects to retire before 60.

(Source: Northwestern Mutual)

Millennials' and Gen Xers’ retirement is expected to be at average ages of 59.5 and 59.4, respectively. They have some 20+ years to decide before they get there, though. A lot can change until then.

17. Women are 7% less likely to be offered a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan.

(Source: TransAmerica Institute)

The American 401(k) statistics show that 69% of women are offered a retirement plan by their employer. Among men, this number is 76%.

18. By 2050, more than 88 million Americans will be older adults.

(Source: AARP International)

That’s also more than 20% of the US population. Considering that every day 10,000 Americans reach age 65, they will be the fastest-growing group over the following decades.

19. All baby boomers will have turned at least 65 by 2030.

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

As you already know, they are the generation born after World War II, starting from 1946 to 1964. Just for the record of our retirement statistics in 2022, the oldest will be 76, and the youngest—58.

20. 43% of Americans can imagine a future when Social Security doesn’t exist.

(Source: Northwestern Mutual)

You decide if this is disturbing or not. On the bright side, only 19% of people think that Social Security will be gone by the time they retire.

21. The number one reason Americans are retiring earlier is that they want to spend time with family and loved ones.

(Source: Northwestern Mutual)

That was the answer of 42% of non-retirees planning to retire early due to COVID-19. Others want an early retirement because they want to focus on hobbies (33%) or their personal mission (29%). 21% simply can afford it, 13% were offered an incentive to retire, and 28% had a change in their work situation.

22. The US highest average retirement age is 66.

(Source: Annuity)

The states where people retire at an average of 66 years old are Hawaii, Massachusetts, and South Dakota. In West Virginia and Alaska, workers retire at the lowest average age of 61.

23. Hawaii is the state with the highest retirement income annually.

(Source: World Population Review)

Living comfortably in Hawaii after retiring means having $119,004 a year. It’s also the state with the highest life expectancy in America—81.50 years.

Everyone knows that Hawaii is an expensive state. That’s why residents will need a good $1.84 million if they want to live well after retirement.

24. 77% of US non-retirees have retirement plans.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

77% is an optimistic number added to the American retirement savings statistics. It includes employer-offered plans as well as other options. The bad news is that the rest 23% don’t have any retirement savings plan.

25. Americans start saving for retirement at a median age of 27.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

You've probably already noticed that the younger generations are pretty optimistic about retirement. They think they’ll retire before 60. Well, that’s until reality hits them, and close to their 30s, there’s a quick change of views.

Global Retirement Statistics 2022

Now, let’s see how things are on the global front. A little bit of curiosity won’t harm anyone. We’ll just briefly tiptoe on here to take a peek.

So what’s going on in the retirement department worldwide?

26. The United States is the world’s leader based on total pension assets.

(Source: Statista)

The latest data from 2020 shows the US pension assets market value was $35.5 trillion. The UK was second with ten times fewer assets—$3.59 trillion.

27. The world’s lowest average age of retirement is 49.

(Source: Annuity)

Wow! Both men and women in the United Arab Emirates can retire at 49. They are the lucky ones, at least in retiring matters.

On the opposite side are the Norwegian men and women with the highest retirement age of 67 on average.

28. The general retirement age in European Union is 65.

(Source: Finnish Centre of Pensions)

Other interesting retirement facts from the old continent:

  • France will raise the retirement age to 67 by 2023.
  • Germany’s pension age will become 67 in 2031.
  • In 2027, the age of retirement in Spain will also be 67 years. Right now, it’s 66.

29. Panama is considered the best place for expat retirees in 2022.

(Source: International Living)

According to the 2022 Annual Global Retirement Index, Panama is the number one place to go to after retirement.

Now, let’s dream a little… Imagine yourself in a tropical country close to the US, with a good climate, sunny beaches, and the ocean breeze caressing your face. What a nirvana!

Other promising candidates are Costa Rica and Mexico—second and third in the ranking.

Wrap Up

With all these retirement statistics, we hope you’ll have nothing to worry about when old age comes.

People have been there previously. If we are lucky, all of us will get there as well.

Staying optimistic great, but if we prepare wisely now, we can enjoy life fully later. Remember that!

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Aleksandra Yosifova
Aleksandra Yosifova

With an eye for research, Aleksandra is determined to always get to the bottom of things. If there’s a glitch in the system, she’ll find it and make sure you know about it.