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Ever asked yourself, “how much should I save for retirement?” If so, congratulations. You’re way ahead of most people. If you haven’t wondered how much is enough to retire, don’t worry. You’re in good company—more than six in 10 Americans don’t have a specific retirement savings goal in mind, according to a recent Advisor Authority Survey, powered by the Nationwide Retirement Institute®.

There’s no silver bullet retirement savings strategy but having a specific goal in mind to work toward can help make it easier to focus on building your nest egg. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all retirement savings target. Some people use average retirement savings by age as a guideline. While that’s certainly a good start, it’s by no means foolproof.  A lot depends on your goals for retirement, including your spending habits, how much debt you have, where you’ll live, and how you plan to spend your time.

The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. When it comes to figuring out your retirement savings goal, a financial professional can help you take steps to confidently answer the question “am I on track for retirement?”

Recession, interest rate worries cloud retirement savings goals

What’s keeping investors up at night and hindering their ability to save for retirement? Over the past five years, economic headwinds, inflation, and climbing interest rates have prompted most people (61%) to significantly rethink their idea of retirement. Many Americans are worried about how they’ll afford day-to-day necessities in their post-career years. Specifically, retirees and those approaching retirement are most concerned about paying for:

  • basic living expenses (83%)
  • medication and other health-related items (58%)
  • supplemental health insurance (39%)

When it comes to retirement planning, the current economic environment is a significant hurdle. Most people don’t have clear goals for retirement—if you’re like most investors, you may not know how much is enough to retire. This lack of clarity can weigh on your mind, impacting your confidence in your ability to retire on time with enough savings to support your lifestyle. Here’s what other investors say they’re worried about:

  • Increasing costs of living, higher healthcare costs, and rising interest rates: In fact, over half of non-retired investors expect an interest rate hike in the next 12 months.
  • Managing expenses and existing debt as interest rates continue to rise: Prolonged periods of elevated interest rates mean things like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, and student debt are more expensive. Higher monthly payments squeeze household budgets, making it difficult for the average American to find ways to save money for retirement.   
  • Uncertainty about the future of Social Security as a reliable source of retirement income: It’s nearly impossible to determine what Social Security will look like in the future, but one thing is certain—younger generations don’t plan to rely on it the same way their parents and grandparents did. 

Unlock the value of professional financial guidance

You can’t control when a recession hits, if stocks go up or down, or whether the Fed raises or cuts interest rates. It can be helpful instead to focus on what you can control—your finances and how you manage them for the future.

Unfortunately, too many people attempt to figure out their financial challenges on their own—to their detriment. Just 37% of 60- to 65-year-olds get retirement planning information from a financial advisor, according to our survey. And few workers take advantage of financial tools, guidance, and education offered by their employer. All this means most people are flying blind when it comes to making key financial decisions, like how much they need to save for retirement.

In that context, working with an experienced financial advisor can be a game-changer. Having professional support and guidance can help you get a big-picture view of your finances; plan for future unknowns like economic conditions, market volatility, and inflation; and clarify your near- and long-term financial goals.

More specifically, a financial professional can help you create a holistic financial plan that includes:

Having a trusted financial advisor can make a significant difference when it comes to making measurable progress toward your goals for a more comfortable retirement. Talk to a financial professional today to explore how to make your retirement savings last and gain confidence to make informed retirement planning decisions that fit your vision for the future.

Methodology: The research was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide from January 8-23, 2024, among 518 advisors and financial professionals and 2,346 investors ages 18+ with investable assets (IA) of $10K+. Advisors and financial professionals included 257 RIAs, 178 broker-dealers, 130 wirehouse and 42 other financial professionals. Among the investors, there were 601 Mass Affluent (IA of $100K-$499K), 518 Emerging High Net Worth (IA of $500K-$999K), 410 High Net Worth (IA of $1M-$4.99M) and 217 Ultra High Net Worth (IA of $5M+), as well as 600 investors with $10K to less than $100K investable assets (“Less affluent”). Investors included a subset of 391 “pre-retirees” age 55-65 who are not retired.

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