In the past decade, quite a bit has changed. First, since the last recession, the country has seen a shift from employer-based retirement offerings, such as pensions, toward a more do-it-yourself approach. But, tools such as 401(k) plans don’t offer the same lifetime income guarantees as pensions. Moreover, in cases of part-time or temporary employment, retirement planning is often entirely in the hands of the employee.
Second, as a whole, Americans are living longer, which makes long-term financial planning even more important. Today, it’s not unreasonable to expect retirement will last a few decades, and such a long time without a consistent paycheck increases the risk of outliving savings.
There are other complicating factors, as well, such as household debt growth, but the broader point is that planning for retirement is no longer as straightforward as it used to be. Thus, it’s not a surprise that nearly 90% of Americans say they are not very confident in their retirement plan, according to a 2017 survey by my organization.