Worker expectations for comfortable retirement plunge, survey finds

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Hardly anyone these days is very confident that he or she will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, according to the 19th annual Retirement Confidence Survey released today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Just 13% of employees — the lowest since the question was first asked in 1993 — said they felt very secure about the quality of their lifestyles once they left the workforce. The percentage was 18% last year and 27% in 2007.

Those with lack of confidence cited the general economic uncertainty, inflation and the cost of living as worrying factors. Other causes included job loss, pay cuts, loss of retirement savings and increased debt.

Out of the group that had lost confidence, 81% of respondents said they have lowered their expenses, while 43% said they are changing their investment style. Nearly 4 out of 10 are working more hours or a second job, and 25% are saving more money.

More workers said they planned to work longer, some into their 70s, most because they want to increase their financial security. Compared with 66% in 2007, now 72% of workers are planning to supplement their retirement income with a job, though only 34% of actual retirees reported working.

Among current retirees, 20% said they are very confident that their retirement will be financially secure, down from 29% in 2008 and 41% in 2007. Only a quarter said they feel very confident that they can cover their health expenses.

– Tiffany Hsu


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