Americans struggling to afford retirement

retirement savings e1698347275231

Story at a glance

  • The Federal Reserve conducted a 2022 survey that suggests 54.4% of American families had a 401K or IRA account.

  • The average amount of Social Security benefits per month is only $1,907.

  • Inflation has made daily essentials more expensive.

(NewsNation) —Many retirement-aged Americans either don’t have enough money saved or they’re using their accounts like an ATM and withdrawing funds earlier than planned.

NewsNation spoke with Shari Evans Buford, a woman who retired in Florida. She and her husband both worked until retirement and Evans Buford has a 401K as well as Social Security.

But life happened and now Evans Buford cares for her elderly mother. Her husband was also involved in a car crash and her rent has increased. Her grocery bill is more than last year and she said her savings disappeared before her eyes.

“We’re the silent in the middle majority who have all these obligations,” Evans Buford said. “And we don’t even have time to sit down and think how much money am I really going to need? And before you know it, the money you thought you had is gone… Life happens. And what I’ve learned is you can prepare if you want to, but you can’t prepare what actually happens.”

Just more than 50% of Americans are saving. The Federal Reserve conducted a 2022 survey that suggests 54.4% of American families had a 401K or IRA account.

That’s a big sector of the population without income after a certain age if they exit the workforce, and it’s not great news if they’re waiting on Social Security.

The average amount of benefits per month is $1,907. That would give someone an annual sum of less than $23,000 per year.

The poverty line is just less than $18,000 annually.

With inflation impacting everything from the cost of groceries, gas, rent and the cost of living in general, those who have invested and saved are starting to pull out funds early.

According to the investment agency the Vanguard Group, 3.6% of savers withdrew from their 401K accounts in 2023 — up from 2.8% the year prior.

Evans Buford’s biggest fear is if she or her husband dies. They desperately need what they can get together. Evans Buford isn’t alone. Nearly 90% of retirees report inflation is taking a chunk out of their assets.

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