Uneasy economy dashes retirement confidence

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 10:44 AM

-- Stocks have bounced back but Americans continue to have serious doubts about their retirement security.

The percentage of workers who said they're "not at all" confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement grew to 27 percent from 22 percent in 2010, according to an annual survey of workers and retirees released Tuesday.

That's the highest level in the 21-year history of the Retirement Confidence Survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington and market researcher Mathew Greenwald & Associates Inc.

All told, half of all workers seriously question whether they'll have enough money for retirement. That's because another 23 percent said they are "not too confident" about whether their savings will be adequate.

A Few Highlights

-Savings: About a third of workers and retirees report they had to dip into savings last year just to pay for basic expenses.

- Debt: More than 20 percent of workers said debt is a major problem and 41 percent said it's a minor problem.

About 15 percent of retirees said debt is a major problem, more than double the percentage of respondents who reported having a major problem in 2005. Some 27 percent said it's a minor problem.

- Retirement Planning: About 70 percent of workers said they are "a lot" or "a little" behind schedule in planning for retirement; 15 percentage points higher than the response in 2005.

The percentage of workers reporting they were on track fell to 21 percent, from 37 percent in 2005.

Unemployment Factor

Continued high unemployment can take some of the credit for the deeper pessimism.

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