Tags: Job | debt | Retirement | Confidence

Survey: Job Security, Mounting Debt Weigh on Retirement Confidence

By    |   Friday, 16 Mar 2012 08:29 AM

Americans are feeling very insecure about their future. The recent Employee Benefit Research Institute's (EBRI) 22nd annual Retirement Confidence Survey shows Americans confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement is stagnant at historically low levels.

Right now, they can't see past today's job uncertainty and debt to feel good about tomorrow.

Just 14 percent of workers are very confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement (statistically equivalent to the survey low of 13 percent measured in 2011 and 2009).

Editor's Note: Google Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here

When asked to name the most pressing financial issue, workers and retirees were more likely to identify job uncertainty.

"Americans' retirement confidence has plateaued at the lowest levels we've seen in two decades of conducting this survey," said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director and co-author of the report, in a prepared statement.

People said they are more worried about having enough money in their later years to pay for medical and long-term care expenses than they are for basic expenses.

Many said they have virtually no savings and investments. Sixty percent of workers reported that the total value of their household's savings and investments, excluding their homes and defined benefit plans is less than $25,000.

According to the survey, the golden years are also going to be delayed.

Twenty-five percent of workers in the current survey said their retirement date has changed in the past year. In 1991, 11 percent of workers said they expected to retire after 65. By 2012, that has grown to 37 percent.

Trouble is, if they think they are going to keep on working they may be in for a nasty surprise. While many workers think they'll be able to work longer in their careers, Matthew Greenwald of Greenwald & Associates, which conducted and co-sponsored the survey, said that some are certain to be disappointed.

"Nearly half of current retirees surveyed by the RCS report they left the work force earlier than they planned for reasons beyond their control, such as health or economic changes such as job loss," said Greenwald in a prepared statement.

The little bit of good news is that Americans continue to sock away savings in their 401(k)s.

In fact, 81 percent of eligible workers (38 percent of all workers), said they contribute to a plan. And those who contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan were more than twice as likely as those who do not, to report savings and investments of at least $50,000.

This group is more optimistic too, with 64 percent saying they are very or somewhat confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement, versus only 48 percent who are not contributing.

Editor's Note: Google Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here



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