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Ameriprise Index: Retirement Readiness at Lowest Level in 3 Years

By John Morgan   |   Thursday, 20 Sep 2012 08:06 AM

More than half of Americans says candidates’ positions on Social Security and Medicare are very likely to impact their vote in the 2012 elections, but the debate about the longevity of these programs does not appear to be prompting an increase in personal retirement savings.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ameriprise to determine where consumers are the most prepared and confident about retirement. Overall, the survey included responses from 10,063 adults aged 40 to 75 from 30 metropolitan areas.

The index revealed that the proportion of U.S. consumers who report making financial preparations for retirement has fallen to 70 percent, the lowest level in three years.

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“While the majority of Americans we surveyed express positive feelings about retirement, we’re still seeing a significant lack of confidence — in fact, nearly half admit they’re concerned about outliving their savings,” said Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise, adding that the current economic environment is contributing to the uncertainty.

A majority of those surveyed say candidates’ positions on health care (60 percent), Social Security (55 percent), taxes (53 percent) and Medicare (52 percent) are very likely to influence their vote, while 41 percent cite unemployment as an influencing factor.

Among the retirees polled who left the workforce earlier than expected, 46 percent said they did so because of a health issued, followed by a job setback (31 percent) or because they were financially able to do so (11 percent).

The metropolitan area where consumers are best prepared for retirement is Hartford-New Haven, Conn., followed by San Diego; Minneapolis-St. Paul; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Philadelphia, Penn.; Raleigh-Durham, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Denver, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

The areas where consumers are the least prepared and confident about retirement are Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis; Chicago; New York; Baltimore; Cleveland-Akron; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.; and Los Angeles.

A recent study by economists at MIT, Dartmouth and Harvard showed a large portion of America’s older population has very little savings. In fact, about 46 percent of senior citizens have less than $10,000 in assets when they die.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

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