50 Percent of Americans Believe This Myth About Retirement — & It’s Ruining Lives

Fifty percent of Americans believe saving $1 million will be enough to retire on, but experts are suggesting differently.

More than 2,000 U.S. adults were surveyed in a recent online study by NerdWallet and The Harris Poll. According to the submissions, 31 percent side with the experts, saying $1 million is not enough to retire on. And 19 percent answered that they were unsure.

“For many people, $1 million isn’t enough to live off in retirement,” certified financial planner Mitchell C. Hockenbury told Moneyish “With people living longer with the advances of medical care and the higher costs of living, a million dollars just doesn’t go as far as it used to.”

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This means most Americans aren't putting away enough money to successfully (and comfortably) retire. 

According to Mark Avallone, president of Potomac Wealth Advisors and author of Countdown to Financial Freedom, the lack of successful retirements in the U.S. is primarily due to Americans’ lack of proper investment income and planning. However, some external factors make it difficult to successfully retire as well. 

Unavoidable factors affecting everyone, including inflation, the pension crisis and increasing life expectancy combine to create “a toxic formula for successful retirement,” Avallone told CNBC. This combination of factors creates a major plummet in lifestyle for retirees.

Planning for retirement is stressful for almost everyone. According to the survey, only 32 percent of Americans believe they will have saved enough money to live comfortably when it comes time to retire based on their desired retirement age and current savings. 

And men are more likely to be comfortable saving for retirement. Thirty-five percent of men in the survey claim they expect to hit at least $1 million in retirement savings compared to only 20 percent of women.

So, how do you prepare to accumulate a comfortable, over-$1 million nest egg that may seem far-fetched? Most experts say the same thing: plan.

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You can never overplan for your retirement. NerdWallet recommends using a retirement calculator to set a personal goal and get financial suggestions on how to reach it. 

According to Avallone, there are only two ways to properly ensure you are prepared for retirement: save more and spend less. 

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.

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