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Retirees Withdrawing Funds, Potentially Outliving Savings
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 6:55 AM

More than half (52 percent) of retirees have withdrawn funds from their retirement savings without a strategy in place and slightly more (53 percent) are concerned about running out of money. Of those drawing down from their investments, 59 percent say the money is to cover expenses, according to PNC's semi-annual Perspectives of Retirement survey.

Retirees are more likely to withdraw money as they age (61 percent of 65-75 year olds), but nearly 40 percent of young retirees (64 or younger) are already drawing down from savings. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) are concerned that Social Security or pensions will not be enough to cover expenses and needs in retirement, according to the telephone survey conducted in February and March.

One-third (35 percent) say the amount of money they use in retirement is about what they expected, but nearly as many (31 percent) had no specific expectations with the remainder split evenly between those who are spending more and those who are spending less.

According to the survey, retirees concerned about running out of money have made efforts to control their expenses, budget more tightly and are taking various actions to reduce costs or raise income, among other actions.

The 53 percent who fear running out of money report:

  • Two-thirds have changed the way they manage their money. Fifty-nine percent have reduced expenses and 41 percent budget more carefully.
  • Those who are concerned are more likely to say they get a higher percentage of retirement income from savings or investments (an average of 35 percent vs. 24 percent).
  • The equity in their home is more likely to be important to their retirement plans, however, they are more reluctant to rely on the equity.
  • They have significantly fewer assets: On average, total investable assets are $225,000, compared with average assets of $411,000 among those who are not concerned.

The survey also found that retirees continue to rely heavily on Social Security. Almost eight in 10 (77 percent) receive Social Security, while 66 percent have a pension and 50 percent use money from savings and investments.


Helpful resources: The Cornerstone Credit Union League’s IRA Basics and IRA Advanced seminars May 13-14 in Dallas. Credit unions can attend one or both seminars, and online registration is now available. Well known trainer Deborah Crawford is presenting both seminars. For more information, including registration, please visit the Education section of Cornerstone’s website. If you have any questions, please contact Training & Events, at (469) 385-6630 or (800) 442-5762, ext. 6630

Educational grants are available through the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation. To learn more, please visit