Skip to main content
News Release

New Election Night Survey: Even with Booming Economy, Consumers Are Not on Track to Retire on their Terms

November 15, 2018

Two-thirds of households have less than $100,000 saved for retirement.

Even with an economy running at full tilt, a majority of American voters are less confident about their retirement prospects than they were five years ago, according to a new survey released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) in collaboration with research-led consulting firm Heart + Mind Strategies.

The election-night survey of more than 1,000 American voters showed that despite the strong economy:

  • More than 60 percent of working voters feel it is now harder to retire on time than it was five years ago
  • The majority (58 percent) predict it will remain difficult to retire on time five years from now
  • While almost two-in-three (62 percent) are confident in their ability to maintain their savings as they transition to retirement, less than half (45 percent) think their savings will last them through retirement.

“By 2060, there will be more than 98 million Americans who are 65 or older,” said CFP Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “People are also living longer than ever before. In many cases, retired Americans will need to support themselves for 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years, meaning people need to save earlier, save more and be better prepared for the financial challenges of retirement.”

However, it seems many Americans are struggling to turn this advice into a reality. Two-thirds of those surveyed have less than $100,000 in household financial assets outside of their primary residence, resulting in American voters’ doubts about having enough savings to last comfortably throughout retirement.

There is a silver lining – today’s political climate and the current state of affairs in our country is positively impacting Americans’ perspective when it comes to managing their finances, with one-in-three saying they are now much more proactive about setting and following a financial plan.

While most of those surveyed report they are not working with an advisor now, nearly 60 percent are likely to work with an advisor for their retirement needs. However, they may be waiting too close to retirement to get the advice they need, with 23 percent waiting to work with a financial planner just three to five years in advance of their target retirement date.

When it comes to qualities Americans look for when choosing a financial advisor, the majority want someone who can provide a comprehensive plan that takes their holistic financial situation into consideration (82 percent) and believe their financial advisor should always work in their best interest (79 percent).

“As Americans start planning for retirement, they want to work with financial professionals who are competent in financial planning and who are required to work in their best interest to ensure they are set up for a secure, comfortable future,” said Keller. “Fortunately for the American public, CFP® certification is the best-in-class standard for financial planning and requires all CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals to always act as a fiduciary. The certification signifies a professional is rigorously trained to work alongside clients to put together a comprehensive plan for their entire financial lives – from their working years through retirement.”

Learn more about financial planning, CFP® certification and where to find a CFP® professional at

Note on Methodology and Survey Report

The online survey was conducted November 6, 2018 among a national sample of 1,058 adults 18 years of age and older.

Download a copy of the survey report from Heart + Mind Strategies 


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


Dan Drummond, Director of Communications
Mobile: 202-243-8621