Why Is It So Hard To Retire in the United States? A Global Survey Explains Why

MoneyLike freelancers who have flexible jobs and therefore more time to spend doing activities they enjoy, most retirees are the happiest when they engage in three to four activities a day. But more retirees are now having to cut back as they are struggling to live on limited means.

According to a survey done by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the median annual household income among retirees is $32,00, while 53% of the retired population live under the $50,000 mark.

There is a large income gap between those who are married with a $49,000 annual income, and unmarried individuals who only live off of $19,000 per year. In addition, recent retirees in their 50s boast $56,000 in income compared to those in their 70s and older who only have $29,000 to live on.

No matter the income, a large majority — 42% — report that they struggle making ends meet.

And living within this income bracket comes with its own sets of challenges. David Blanchett, head of retirement research for Morningstar Investment Management tells USA Today, “I think for the ‘average’ American household, $32,000 is doable but will likely result in changes in lifestyle that will be significant for some households, especially those living off more before retirement.”

Even though financial advisers recommend retirees have their mortgage paid off before entering retirement, keeping a chunk of money set aside for unexpected medical expenses, and delaying social security, many beg the question as to why it is so hard to retire within the United States.

In the Natixis 2016 Global Retirement Index, the U.S. came in at number 14 out of 43 developed nations in retirement readiness. Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland hold the top three slots.

The ranking takes into account each nation’s economic health, quality of life, and material well-being. But according to Natixis experts, growing financial inequality was the largest factor in determining the United State’s position.

The results are staggering. Nowadays, about half of the nation’s wealth goes to upper-income households, compared to less than a third in 1970.

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