New survey: Retirement confidence plummets

Feeling insecure about retirement? You’re not alone. Americans’ confidence in being able to enjoy a financially comfortable retirement has hit an all-time low, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 19th annual Retirement Confidence Survey.

Only 13% of workers surveyed said they were “very confident” about having enough money to live comfortably through retirement, the lowest number since EBRI started asking the question in 1993. (The high was 27%, just two years ago in 2007.) And 44% of workers responded that they were “not too confident” or “not at all confident” about their retirement security.

Current retirees are feeling the burn, too: Their confidence in having a financially secure retirement reached a new low, with only 20% responding that they are very confident–down from 29% in 2008 and 41% in 2007.

Why the increase in pessimism? Surprise, surprise: Workers cited the economy, inflation and cost of living as primary factors in their loss of confidence. Job losses, pay cuts, loss in retirement savings and increased debt also contributed to the decline.

Other key survey findings:

  • Workers expect to work longer: 28% said the age at which they expect to retire has changed in the past year, and 89% of them said they postponed retirement.
  • More workers will keep working in retirement: 72% said they planned to work for pay during their retirement years (up from 66% in 2007).
  • Basic expenses seem more daunting: Only 25% of workers said they felt very confident about having enough money to cover basic retirement expenses, down from 40% in 2007. Among retirees, only 25% felt very confident about being able to cover their health expenses.
  • Workers are changing their financial life in response to their lack of confidence: 81% have reduced expenses, 43% are changing the way they invest, 38% are working more hours or taking on a second job, and 25% are seeking advice from a financial professional.

What do you think? Are you feeling more or less confident about your retirement prospects? Tell us in the comments below. And if you’re like the 44% of workers who simply guessed at how much they will need for retirement, try the retirement calculators at to help you with your planning.

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