Retirement Security

Retirement Readiness In The Healthcare Sector

One-third of healthcare employees are not confident about their retirement income prospects

TIAA Institute report finds advice and annuities can give retirement planning a confidence boost.

NEW YORK, June 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from TIAA Institute found that one out of three doctors, surgeons, registered nurses, and other hospital and healthcare staff are not confident they are saving enough money to comfortably retire. Confidence is lowest among registered nurses—42% are not confident they are saving enough for retirement. The report, Retirement Readiness in the Healthcare Sector, examines retirement income security among full-time hospital and healthcare system employees.

According to the report, while 91% of hospital and healthcare system employees are saving through employer-based plans: 

  • 34% aren’t confident they are saving an adequate amount.
  • 24% aren’t confident their savings are invested appropriately.
  • 28% do not believe they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement.
  • 85% reported carrying debt.
  • 45% are saving less because of debt, including student loans.

“We know that student loan debt affects retirement confidence because paying off loans gets in the way of saving. And those with debt are more likely to tap into their savings before retiring, creating a vicious circle,” said Surya Kolluri, Head of TIAA Institute. “What we’re also finding is that getting advice is key to improving how confident people feel about being able to live the life they in retirement. And when people actually follow the advice they get, their confidence goes up exponentially.”

Researchers say within the last two years, 51% of retirement savers in the healthcare sector reported receiving professional retirement planning advice. Of those who received advice, 26% are “very confident” they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Of those who followed all the advice received, 47% said they were “very confident”. By comparison, 15% of savers who haven’t received advice reported being “very confident”.

We often consider our healthcare professionals our heroes and we want them to feel good about how they're preparing for retirement after a life of dedicating themselves to others...

“We often consider our healthcare professionals our heroes and we want them to feel good about how they’re preparing for retirement after a life of dedicating themselves to others,” said Jim Mullery, Head of Institutional Relationship Management. “Retirement planning advice is the first step toward improving retirement readiness and income security. Advice topics can include how to invest, how much to save, when to retire and the role an annuity can play as part of a retirement plan for that regular income stream that lasts as long as you live.”

Researchers say retirement savers who received advice on how to draw income from savings during retirement are more likely to annuitize and according to the report, 58% of healthcare employees say they are likely to use an annuity. Paradoxically, among those unlikely to annuitize, 67% rated “not outliving financial assets” as a high financial priority for retirement, exactly what annuitization insures against.

“Reluctance to annuitize signals a retirement planning disconnect that’s easily overcome with some advice and education,” said Mullery. “In-plan annuities can be a real confidence booster for retirement savers. They are a great option for creating a source of guaranteed income to protect against retirement risks such as longevity risk, cognitive risk, and market volatility.”

In addition to not outliving financial assets, researchers found maintaining one’s standard of living throughout retirement is a high priority among retirement savers, as is ensuring the financial security of a surviving spouse or partner.




About the TIAA Institute
The TIAA Institute is a think-tank within TIAA, conducting cutting-edge research in the areas of financial literacy and longevity literacy, lifetime income, retirement plan design and behavioral finance in the context of retirement. The Institute provides consulting services for higher education and the broader nonprofit sector. For more information, visit
About TIAA
TIAA is a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions. It is the #1 not-for-profit retirement market provider1, paid more than $5.6 billion in lifetime income to retired clients in 2022 and has $1.2 trillion in assets under management (as of 3/31/2024)2.
1 As of July 21, 2022. Based on data in PLANSPONSOR’s 403(b) 2022 DC Recordkeeping Survey, combined 457 and 403(b) data.
2 As of March 31, 2024, TIAA and Nuveen assets under management are $1,240B or $1.2T.


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