Americans are more pessimistic about having a comfortable retirement than they have been in two decades, the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute reported today.
“People are increasingly recognizing the level of savings realistically needed for a comfortable retirement,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director. “We know from previous surveys that far too many people had false confidence in the past.”
The percentage of workers who are “not at all confident about retirement” rose to 27 percent, up from 22 percent one year ago, said EBRI in its 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey. The percentage of workers who are “very confident” remains at the 2009 level of 13 percent – the lowest rate ever measured by the survey.
High unemployment, government fiscal crises, rising health care costs, lower investment returns and longer life expectancies rank among the long-term factors shaping Americans’ expectations for retirement, the survey found.
One-third of respondents said they had to dip into savings last year to pay for basic expenses, but those with retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA were less likely to tap into their savings.
Though 59 percent of all workers say they are saving for retirement, 56 percent say they have less than $25,000 in savings and investments, excluding the value of their home and pension plans. Seventy percent say they are a little or a lot behind in planning and saving for retirement.
Twenty percent say they plan to retire later than planned. Most blame the poor economy, but 16 percent say the lack faith in Social Security and 13 percent say they can’t afford to retire.
The survey follows an EBRI report released in January that concludes that up to 14 percent of U.S. households are at risk of running short of money in retirement due to the 2008-2009 Recession.