Pre-retirees need a refresher course. And fast.

When MetLife asked 1,213  56- to 65-year-olds about the income they'll need and the expenses they'll have, most had only five correct answers  to the 15 questions. That's not good. In 2008,responders got six of the 15 questions right. 

Oh boy. time to go back to the drawing board. After all Americans are not getting any younger.

According to the results released Tuesday by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, misperceptions include: : 

  • Social Security - only 17 percent knew that delaying benefits by three years would add 24 percent to the amount they receive.
  • Retirement income - Only 45 percent knew that they will need 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to keep their current standard of living.
  • Savings - 40 percent didn't know that experts suggest spending only 4 to 6 percent of savings a year. Most wrongly thought spending 7 to 15 percent was fine. 
  • Long-term care insurance - 42 percent incorrectly believe that health insurance, Medicare or disability insurance will cover the cost of long term care

But respondents did get a few things right.

Most understood they will live longer and need to plan while they still working. A healthy 87 percent are planning to work longer or have jacked up their 40(k) contributions. And 62 percent have sought professional financial advice.

Still, it's not enough.

"Everyone knows they're likely to live longer, but most don't realize that can mean living past age 85,’’ said MetLife Institute director Sandra Timmermann. “And they fail to calculate how much money they will need for a steady and lasting income."


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