Only 17 per cent of U.S. employees aged 50-plus and 23 per cent of retirees are very confident they’ll be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle throughout retirement, according to a new survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with the Transamerica Institute.

The survey, which polled more than 10,000 U.S. employees, found nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of retirees said they expect to primarily rely on income from an employer-sponsored pension plan, compared to just 10 per cent of workers aged 50-plus. In contrast, 26 per cent of employees said they expect to rely on a 401(k)s, 403(b)s and individual retirement accounts, compared with 11 per cent of retirees.

Among retiree respondents, the average total household savings, excluding household savings, was US$73,000, while workers aged 50-plus have saved an average of US$133,000. In addition, retirees had an average annual household income of US$58,000, significantly lower than workers’ aged 50-plus at US$87,000.

Read: Only half of U.S. retirement savers feel on track, an 11% drop since 2022: survey

While about a third of workers aged 50-plus (37 per cent) and retirees (35 per cent) said they currently use a professional financial advisor, significantly fewer (23 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively) said they have a financial strategy for retirement in the form of a written plan.

The greatest fear among workers aged 50-plus was outliving their savings and investments (45 per cent compared to 32 per cent of retirees), while the greatest fear among retirees was that social security will be reduced or cease to exist in the future (39 per cent compared to 42 per cent 50-plus workers).

The survey also found two-thirds (66 per cent) of workers aged 50-plus said they expect to retire after age 65 or don’t plan to retire at all. In contrast, 58 per cent of retiree respondents retired before age 65. In addition, more than half (56 per cent) of retirees retired sooner than planned, but only 31 per cent of workers said they have a backup plan for income if forced into retirement sooner than expected.

“Retirees and pre-retirees have limited financial means,” said Catherine Collinson, chief executive officer and president of the Transamerica Institute and the TCRS, in a press release. “Both cohorts are susceptible to the turbulent economy and inflation. A harsh reality is that many lack the resources to cover the cost of a major financial shock. If a market downturn, personal health emergency or natural disaster strikes, many may find themselves in a dire situation.”

Read: Half of U.S. workers say rising costs, financial crises impacting retirement savings: survey