The bad news is the cost of saving for retirement is going up. The good news is some pre-retirees are now on track to replace more of their pre-retirement income in retirement, according to data from BlackRock released Wednesday.
BlackRock based its conclusions on its CoRI index, which was launched a year ago, on information from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and on the actuarial data used by the Social Security Administration to make its projections, Chip Castille, head of the BlackRock U.S. retirement group, said during a web conference Wednesday.
The information was gathered for three groups of pre-retirees––people 55, 60 and 64 years of age who are still working and who have savings in both IRA and 401(k) accounts.
Based on this data, the amount needed to provide $1 a year in lifetime income for life for a 55-year-old is now a little more than $14, says BlackRock, which is a 7 percent increase over a year ago. The cost for 60-year-olds went up 5 percent and for 64-year-olds 4 percent. The cost has gone up mostly because interest rates are so low, Castille says.
“If a 55-year-old is not making at least 7 percent on his or her portfolio, he is losing ground,” Castille says. “This helps us understand the magnitude of the retirement crisis.”
This group of pre-retirees, which is not meant to be a look at Americans in general, is on track to replace about two-thirds of its pre-retirement income in retirement, BlackRock says. The 55-year-olds are on track to replace 69 percent with 80 percent being the goal. A year ago they were on track to replace 65 percent, but increased contributions and the good stock market returns have improved the situation for them, plus they have ten years yet to save.
For the 60-year-olds who meet the criteria of having both an IRA and a 401(k) account, they are on track to replace 60 percent of their income, and 64-year-olds are on track to replace 59 percent of their income. A year ago the 60-year-olds were at the same level and the 64-year-olds were on track to replace 56 percent.
The oldest group is in the worst shape because they have the least time remaining to save and they are the ones who were caught in the transition from defined benefit retirement plans and defined contribution plans, Castille says.
“Our goal in creating this analysis is to further reinforce how essential it is for individuals to understand their retirement income needs and goals, and to save and invest appropriately in seeking to generate the income they want in retirement,” Castille says.
“With the S&P 500 up 22 percent year-over-year, investors may look at their retirement portfolios, see positive investment performance and think they are doing quite well,” he adds. “However, investors still have to save – pure investment returns alone may not tell the complete picture when it comes to retirement preparedness. Understanding how the cost of retirement income changes and how that may impact the income stream in retirement completely transforms the entire retirement conversation.”