More seniors, concerned about recession, move to sell homes: survey

13% of surveyed baby boomers have already sold their homes, while 22% plan on delaying retirement out of impending recession fears

Roughly one-in-eight members of the baby boomer generation have taken action on the potential of an impending recession by selling their homes, aiming to lock in a higher home value while they still can. This is according to a recently-released survey of U.S. seniors aged 59 and older conducted by Retirement Living.

Nearly 20% of respondents said that they rely entirely on Social Security benefits to provide cash flow in retirement, while the overwhelming majority of respondents — 70% — felt uncertain about whether their retirement savings were sufficient to last the rest of their lives.

“While the average retirement savings of our participants came out to a little over $680,000, the majority said they’d feel more secure if they had around $1.2 million in the bank,” the results said.

Despite concerns about financial longevity, most respondents expected their retirement savings to last roughly 13 years.

“This might explain the growing notion that many Americans feel they may need to work longer to save enough for retirement,” the results said. “The good news is that, so far, the economy is proving surprisingly resilient despite economic challenges, as consumers continue to shop in retail stores, dine at restaurants, and buy cars.”

There was a generally wide variety of responses that respondents had to the idea of a potential recession. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed said that they were decreasing their spending in response to economic volatility, while 30% said they would increase their savings. And 26% of respondents each said they would invest in “safe” assets, and that they would continue to work full-time.

Between 20-25% of respondents said they would apply for part-time jobs; build an emergency fund; or diversify their investments.

A clear majority of respondents said they don’t have enough money saved, but only a small percentage of the total respondent pool has entertained the idea of tapping home equity to fund retirement, according to the results.

“More than one-quarter of baby boomers shared that the economy’s increasing unpredictability has led them to discuss their plans with a professional,” the results said. “Nearly 75% said they hadn’t saved as much for retirement as they would like, and 5% have even taken equity from their homes to fund their retirement.”

The survey included 758 respondents at or over the age of 59. Of the 758 respondents, 277 were already retired, 445 respondents identified as female, and 309 identified as male. Two identified as nonbinary, and two chose not to disclose that information.

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