Fairfax, Va. – December 7, 2020— Nearly every household with an income of $100,000 or more saves for retirement, but only half of them (49%) believe they will ever be able to retire.

These findings were part of the “2020 Financial Insights” study of 2,000 U.S. adults 40-65 years of age with annual household income of at least $100,000. The poll was conducted August 27-September 1 by Edelman Financial Engines, the nation’s largest independent financial planning and investment management firm.


According to “2020 Financial Insights”, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Edelman Financial Engines


  1. Retirement (74%)
  2. Prepare for a “rainy day” (27%)
  3. Pay for vacation (15%)
  4. Buy a car (15%)
  5. Pay for college (14%)
  6. Buy a house (13%)
  7. Start a business (11%)
  8. Pay for a special event (9%)
  9. Pay for a wedding (6%)

Saving and Investing

In the midst of the pandemic, 35% say they do not have enough in cash reserves, including 34% of those in their 40s, 43% of those in their 50s, and 25% of those ages 60 to 65. Four in five (78%) wish they started saving earlier.

More than half (57%) say that they would panic if the value of their investments declined 30% to 50%.

Indeed, many investors have shifted to lower-risk portfolios due to the pandemic, including 34% of those in their 40s, 22% of those in their 50s, and 21% of those ages 60-65.

“Unfortunately, downturns are a part of a cyclical economy,” said Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines. “That’s why it’s so important to diversify and maintain a long-term perspective.”

Retirement Fears

A quarter (24%) of pre-retirees, including Baby Boomers, Gen X and older Millennials, have reduced the amount they’re saving for retirement. On average, respondents believe they will need to work at least six years longer than they had planned, due to the pandemic.

“Our survey showed that retirement is by far the most commonly cited reason that Americans invest. It’s extremely troubling that the pandemic has caused so many to reduce their retirement savings rates, as this will only distance them from their goals,” Edelman added.

The Advisor Effect

Those who have a financial advisor are more confident in their retirement prospects and have taken more steps associated with financial security compared to those who do not have an advisor. Respondents with financial advisors are 45% more likely to invest and 25% more likely to have sufficient cash reserves than those without financial advisors. In addition, those who have a financial advisor are 30% more likely to believe their financial security will stay intact if markets fall than those without an advisor.

“This study reinforces our views that while the economic crisis has rattled hard-working Americans, those with financial advisors feel more confident in their ability to achieve their financial goals,” Edelman said.


The Edelman Financial Engines “2020 Financial Insights” survey was completed online by OnePoll between August 27 and September 1, 2020, among 2000 U.S. adults ranging from ages 40-65, with an annual household income of over $100,000.

About Edelman Financial Engines

Since 1986, Edelman Financial Engines has been committed to always acting in the best interest of our clients. We were founded on the belief that all American investors – not just the wealthy – deserve access to personalized, comprehensive financial planning and investment advice. Today, we are America’s top independent financial planning and investment advisor, recognized by both InvestmentNews1 and Barron’ s2 with 150+ offices across the country and entrusted by more than 1.2 million clients to manage more than $230 billion in assets.3 Our unique approach to serving clients combines our advanced methodology and proprietary technology with the attention of a dedicated personal financial planner. Every client’s situation and goals are unique, and the powerful fusion of high-tech and high-touch allows Edelman Financial Engines to deliver the personal plan and financial confidence that everyone deserves.

1Ranking and status for 2020. For independence methodology and ranking, see InvestmentNews Center (http://data.investmentnews.com/ria/).

2The 2020 America’s Best RIA Firms Independent Advisory Firm Ranking issued by Barron’s is qualitative and quantitative, including assets managed, technology spending, staff diversity, succession planning, the size and experience of teams, and the regulatory records of the advisors and firms. Firms elect to participate but do not pay to be included in the ranking. Investor experience and returns are not considered.

3As of September 30, 2020.

 © 2020 Edelman Financial Engines, LLC. Edelman Financial Engines® is a registered trademark of Edelman Financial Engines, LLC. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1434133