American workers’ retirement security is at a four-year low, according to a recent survey by Sun Life Financial. After remaining stable for three years, retirement confidence dropped nearly 20 percent in September compared to the previous year.
Less than a quarter (23 percent) of the 1,500 respondents feel very confidence that they will meet basic living expenses in retirement, a precipitous drop from 42 percent in 2010. One in five said they will never retire, while confidence in the future of Social Security has plunged over the course of four years, to 9 percent from 22 percent in 2008.
Retirement security is one of the biggest personal concerns in households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence), according to a 2011 wealth level study conducted by Millionaire Corner. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are concerned about having enough money set aside for retirement, while 56 percent fear not being able to retire as planned. Of these These concerns are felt most keenly by those ages 54 and younger (71 percent and 66 percent, respectively).
Sun Life’s Unretirement Index, which is scored on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 reflecting the highest confidence about retirement) comprises five components. Each declined in retirement security compared to 2010. On a year-to-year basis, Sun Life reported, confidence dropped in the following areas: employee benefits (-31.7 percent), the economy (-25 percent), government benefits (-21.6 percent), personal finances (-13.9 percent), and personal health (-13.2 percent).
Although the recession officially ended in 2009, average Americans feel that the downturn has not ended for them, which is substantially eroding their trust in their retirement future,” Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson said in a statement.
Workers who expect to receive guaranteed lifetime income from annuities by age 67, or who own long-term care insurance products, feel significantly more confident about retirement, Sun Life found.
Retirement security is understandably of paramount importance to the Mass Affluent investors we surveyed. Eighty percent said it is very important to guaranteed retirement income. For these investors, too, annuities are a confidence boost.More than 37 percent perceive annuities as a good source of retirement income and 20 percent plan to buy them in the next 12 months.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.