Data and Research

More Citing Retirement Savings Accounts as Major Source of Retirement Income

Still, 34% of non-retirees say Social Security will be a major source of retirement income, a Gallup poll finds.

By PLANSPONSOR staff | May 04, 2017

Fifty percent of non-retired Americans expect their 401(k) or another personal retirement savings account to be a major source of income in retirement—the highest percentage (by one point) that Gallup has recorded since April 2008.

At the same time, the 34% of non-retirees counting on Social Security as a major source of retirement income is near its peak in Gallup's 17-year trends data. Prior to the recession, between 25% and 29% thought they would rely this heavily on Social Security, but this increased to 31% during the recession and has since ranged from 29% to 36%.

Retirement savings accounts and Social Security are the top two sources of income that today's non-retirees expect to rely on the most. This is true not only in the percentages predicting each will be a major source of income in later years, but also in terms of the combined percentages saying each will be a major or minor source—roughly 80% for both.

Following these sources of retirement security, regular savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs), as well as work-sponsored pension plans, figure as major potential income sources for 25% of non-retirees. More than half of non-retirees are counting on each as at least a minor source of income.

Roughly one in five non-retirees predicts home equity, part-time work and individual stock or stock mutual fund investments will be a major income source for them, and majorities of 55% to 71% identify each as at least a minor source.

Less than one in 10 non-retirees believe annuities or insurance plans, rent or royalty income, or inheritance money will be a major income source for them in retirement. In addition, less than half expect these to be either a major or minor source.

Current retirees report depending the most on Social Security, with 55% calling it a major income source for them and 89% saying it is either a major or minor source. This is followed by a work-sponsored pension, with 38% calling it a major source, and retirement savings accounts such as a 401(k) or Keogh, at 24%.

Results for the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 5 through 9, 2017, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, ages 18 and older. More information is here.