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Schwab Survey Finds High Anxiety Among ‘Pre-Retirees’


Research focuses on pre-retiree segment within five years of retirement facing difficult financial pivot point

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Charles Schwab released new research today that provides insights into people at a unique point in their financial lives: those who are within five years of retirement. The findings show that these pre-retirees are nearly as anxious about what the future looks like as the present, with 65% feeling overwhelmed by saving enough now for retirement and 52% feeling overwhelmed by how they will ultimately manage their different income sources once they take the leap into retirement.

These findings underscore how daunting the transition into retirement is for pre-retirees, revealing that the final years leading up to retirement are among the most sensitive and confusing in investors’ financial lives.

Retirement is More Overwhelming than Other Financial Moments in Life

Most pre-retirees consider managing retirement income more overwhelming than many other financial moments typically considered stressful, such as:

  • Bearing the financial impact of losing a job – 41% consider overwhelming
  • Buying a home – 33% consider overwhelming
  • Paying for college – 27% consider overwhelming

Pre-retirees feel particularly anxious about how they’ll manage their income and spending needs once they move from the comfort of an ongoing paycheck into retirement:

  • 72% are worried about running out of money in retirement
  • 57% are overwhelmed by determining how much they can spend in retirement
  • 60% are worried about not getting – or the thought of not getting – a regular paycheck in retirement
  • 64% are overwhelmed by not being able to maintain their current lifestyle or quality of life in retirement

Planning for Retirement Income Deemed Complex

Schwab’s survey finds that people on the cusp of retirement are concerned about several aspects of how they’ll manage their money once retirement begins, including:

  • Managing different income sources and accounts in retirement (52% are worried)
  • Managing the tax implications of withdrawing from multiple accounts (54% find it difficult)
  • Knowing how to invest (50% find it difficult)
  • Projecting how long their savings will last (57% find it difficult)
  • Managing unexpected expenses (59% find it difficult)

Pre-Retirees Unfamiliar With Retirement Income Basics

Lastly, the survey finds that people within five years of retirement are unfamiliar or worried when it comes to some important basics about retirement income, which may add to their stress level:

  • Annual Required Minimum Distributions (70% know nothing / not a lot about this topic)
  • Tax implications of retirement account withdrawals (70% know nothing / not a lot about this topic)
  • Fees (48% are worried about paying too much for advice on managing retirement income)

“So much of the emphasis around retirement planning is on helping people save, but helping them transition into spending down from their portfolios in retirement is just as important,” says Tobin McDaniel, Charles Schwab senior vice president of digital advice and innovation. “Millions of Americans are on the cusp of retirement, so developing solutions that enable investors to confidently manage their income needs in an easy, flexible and affordable way is one of the most critical challenges we are addressing.”

Overcoming Retirement Income Complexity

To help meet the needs of people making the transition to retirement, Charles Schwab recently launched Schwab Intelligent Income™, an income solution designed for people who want a simple, modern way to pay themselves in retirement, or any other time, from their investment portfolios.

Schwab Intelligent Income helps answer critical and often complex income-related questions about how much to withdraw, how to invest based on individual goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon, and how to withdraw from a combination of taxable, tax-deferred, and Roth enrolled accounts in a tax-smart and efficient way.

Using Schwab’s automated investing service Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® for portfolio management, Schwab Intelligent Income projects, manages and automates multiple income streams from enrolled accounts with the goal of generating a predictable ongoing withdrawal based on an investor’s income needs.

Among the findings in Schwab’s research, nearly three in four people (73%) within five years of retirement are comfortable using technology to automatically manage their retirement income needs.

More information about Schwab Intelligent Income is available here.

About the Research

The research was conducted through an online survey by Logica Research from June 27 to July 16, 2019, among a national sample of 1,000 Americans aged 55 and older with $100,000 or more in investable assets. Respondents self-defined as retired or within five years of retirement. The margin of error for the sample is three percentage points.

About Charles Schwab

At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity.

More information is available at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.


Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 360 offices and 12.3 million active brokerage accounts, 1.7 million corporate retirement plan participants, 1.4 million banking accounts, and $4.04 trillion in client assets as of December 31, 2019. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of wealth management, securities brokerage, banking, money management, custody, and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and lending services and products. More information is available at and

Please read the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions™ disclosure brochures for important information, pricing, and disclosures related to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium programs.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ are made available through Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. (“Schwab”), a dually registered investment advisor and broker dealer. Schwab Intelligent Income™ is an optional feature for clients to receive recurring automated withdrawals from their accounts. Schwab does not guarantee the amount or duration of Schwab Intelligent Income withdrawals nor does it guarantee any specific tax results such as meeting Required Minimum Distributions.

Portfolio management services are provided by Charles Schwab Investment Advisory, Inc. ("CSIA"). Schwab and CSIA are subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Schwab Intelligent Income is available in both Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium. There is no advisory fee or commissions charged for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. For Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, there is an initial planning fee of $300 upon enrollment and a $30 per month advisory fee charged on a quarterly basis as detailed in the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions™ disclosure brochures. Investors in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium (collectively, “Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions”) do pay direct and indirect costs. These include ETF operating expenses which are the management and other fees the underlying ETFs charge all shareholders. The portfolios include a cash allocation to FDIC-insured deposit accounts at Charles Schwab Bank (“Schwab Bank”).” Schwab Bank earns income on the deposits, and earns more the larger the cash allocation is. The lower the interest rate Schwab Bank pays on the cash, the lower the yield. Some cash alternatives outside of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions pay a higher yield. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions invests in Schwab ETFs. A Schwab affiliate, Charles Schwab Investment Management, receives management fees on those ETFs. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions also invests in third party ETFs. Schwab receives compensation from some of those ETFs for providing shareholder services, and also from market centers where ETF trade orders are routed for execution. Fees and expenses will lower performance, and investors should consider all program requirements and costs before investing. Expenses and their impact on performance, conflicts of interest, and compensation that Schwab and its affiliates receive are detailed in the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Solutions disclosure brochures.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ are designed to monitor portfolios on a daily basis and will also automatically rebalance as needed to keep the portfolio consistent with the client’s selected risk profile. Trading may not take place daily.

Tax‐loss harvesting is available for clients with invested assets of $50,000 or more in their account. Clients must choose to activate this feature.

Diversification, automatic investing and rebalancing strategies do not ensure a profit and do not protect against losses.

If you are not completely satisfied for any reason, at your request Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”), Charles Schwab Bank (“Schwab Bank”), or another Schwab affiliate, as applicable, will refund any eligible fee related to your concern within the required time frames. Schwab reserves the right to change or terminate the guarantee at any time. Go to to learn what’s included and how it works.

The cash allocation in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium will be accomplished through enrollment in the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Sweep Program (Sweep Program), a program sponsored by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. By enrolling in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, clients consent to having the free credit balances in their Schwab Intelligent Portfolios brokerage accounts swept to FDIC-insured deposit accounts at Charles Schwab Bank through the Sweep Program. Funds deposited at Charles Schwab Bank are insured, in aggregate, up to $250,000 per depositor, for each account ownership category, by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).


Marianne Ahlmann
Charles Schwab

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