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December 08, 2021 | Press Releases

Goldman Sachs Asset Management Releases Retirement Survey & Insights Report Showing The Changing Realities Of Retirement Planning In The US

Findings show contrasting retirement expectations in the wake of COVID-19 and the impact of financial hardships on retirement planning

New York, NY – December 8, 2021 – Goldman Sachs Asset Management today released the findings of its Retirement Survey & Insights Report, which seeks to learn directly from plan participants about their experience preparing for, transitioning to, and managing their finances in retirement.

The survey revealed that financial hardships have affected retirement savings for 89% of workers, compared to 17% of retirees. More than half of the retirees polled retired earlier than expected, and health was the top concern among retirees. The youngest respondents are expecting to leave the workforce much earlier, however, with 25% of Generation Z respondents planning to retire before the age of 55.

Overall, survey responses highlight the importance of employer retirement programs for both retired and currently working individuals, with 56% of retired respondents (and 38% of working respondents) surveyed stating that they derive their source of retirement education from employer retirement programs.

Responses were analyzed from two distinct populations: those currently in retirement and those currently working, with the latter cohort spanning a range of age groups, including Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z individuals, in geographies across the US.

“Our goal is to learn directly from retirees and workers about the barriers to their retirement success and use these insights to help defined contribution plan sponsors,” said Michael Moran, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “Our findings highlight employer-sponsored retirement programs as the biggest source of retirement education across both cohorts. Now, more than ever, we believe plan sponsors should consider employee retirement programs to drive value for their organizations, their employees, and tailor those programs to accommodate a wide range of planning needs.”

Notable highlights from the report include:

  • More than half of retired respondents retired earlier than expected and health was the top reason listed for retired individuals. Health reasons topped the list of reasons for retirement, with 24% of respondents forced into retirement due to health concerns, and with only 3% of respondents having worked longer than expected. Notably, only 9% of participants indicated that having sufficient retirement savings is a key trigger for retirement.
  • Interrupted savings may be causing shortfalls in retirement plans. Eighty-nine percent of working individuals say financial hardships impacted their retirement savings, compared to 17% of retired individuals. Eighty-three percent of workers say paying down existing loans impacted their retirement savings, compared to 15% of retirees.
  • Younger workers may need to plan with more realistic assumptions. Twenty-five percent of Generation Z respondents plan to retire before age 55, while roughly 30% of those under age 40 believe they need 60% or less of their pre-retirement income in retirement, compared to Generation X respondents, who feel they need 80% of their pre-retirement income in retirement.
  • Employer-sponsored retirement programs are the most used source of retirement education. Survey responses highlight the importance of employer retirement programs for both retired and currently working individuals, with 56% of retired respondents surveyed stating that they derive their source of retirement education from employer retirement programs. Additionally, offering new programs or continuing to expand on existing ones is an important value driver for any organization.

The current state of retirement planning. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, retirees are currently feeling most concerned about future healthcare needs, potential reductions in social security, and inflation as they seek to manage retirement finances.



The survey was conducted by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Qualtrics Experience Management between July and August 2021 in the United States. We sourced responses from 1,237 participants (613 working Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z individuals and 624 retired individuals (aged 60-75)).

Access the full report HERE


About Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Bringing together traditional and alternative investments, Goldman Sachs Asset Management provides clients around the world with a dedicated partnership and focus on long-term performance. As the primary investing area within Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), we deliver investment and advisory services for the world’s leading institutions, financial advisors and individuals, drawing from our deeply connected global network and tailored expert insights, across every region and market—overseeing more than $2 trillion in assets under supervision worldwide as of September 30, 2021. Driven by a passion for our clients’ performance, we seek to build long-term relationships based on conviction, sustainable outcomes, and shared success over time. Follow us on LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:

Avery Reed
Tel: 1-212-902-5400

Joseph Stein
Tel: 44-207-774-4080