Perhaps the most surprising thing about the entire notion of retirement in America is how little anybody seems to know about retirement in America. Didn't they teach this stuff in school?
Apparently not. And the seemingly ever-deepening hole of retirement savings issues in the United States doesn't seem to be getting better - nor does the general public really seem to have much of a clue about the basics of Social Security, building retirement savings or even life expectancy.
MetLife's Mature Market Institute has now placed its Retirement Income Quiz out there for the public to consume, and hopefully use as a learning tool to understand some of the key issues which will very realistically be impacting their golden years.
Unfortunately, as the quiz's sponsors discovered, when a test panel of more than 1,200 56-to-65-year-old pre-retirees was given the quiz last year, the respondents were only able to answer about a third of the 14 questions correctly.
[You can take the quiz here yourself, or pass it along to colleagues or your clients and see how they fare.]
Social Security continued to remain a significant mystery - only 17 percent knew that delaying taking their benefits by three years could up the monthly check by nearly 25 percent - and only 45 percent knew that they'd need 80 percent to 90 percent of their pre-retirement income to keep up with their present lifestyle.
"We've made this quiz available to the general public to help them become aware of what they'll need in retirement and how much it's going to cost to maintain their current lifestyle, especially in light of today's longer lifespans," said institute director Sandra Timmerman.
"We hope this will encourage Americans to take the next appropriate steps. For those who haven't done so, it's a good idea to talk to a financial professional to determine the right retirement income strategy with a steady income stream tailored to the individual or couple."