Is Retirement Confidence Beside the Point?

Asked whether confidence matters when it comes to retirement preparation, 80% said it absolutely or nearly always does. Eleven percent said it does not matter much, if at all.

Why might people have relatively high confidence in a secure retirement if, as the poll findings and readers’ comments suggest, their confidence is misplaced, or at least optimistic?

Adams put this question to readers, allowing them to give more than one response:

  • They figure they have time to work it out: 54%.
  • They don’t know what they don’t know: 52%.
  • They legitimately think they’ll be OK: 43%.
  • They overestimate resources like Social Security: 27%.
  • They just don’t admit it: 13%.
  • They think they have a pension coming — and probably don’t: 5%.
  • They must all have rich relatives: 2%.

Finally, the poll asked readers how confident they were about their own retirement. Fifty-seven percent purported to be more confident than a year ago, 38% were about as confident as a year ago and 5% were less confident.

In an email message, Adams observed that “retirement confidence can have a positive impact on retirement preparations, but that confidence in and of itself can easily be misplaced — overconfidence, in other words, can lead to complacency.  

“The issue isn’t whether or not you’re confident in your retirement prospects, but rather if there is a rational justification for that confidence.”

Image: Adobe Stock

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