More Americans plan to delay retirement: surveys

Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:45am EDT
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By Ross Kerber

BOSTON (Reuters) - More Americans plan to delay retirement following steep drops in the value of their savings accounts, data from several new surveys show.

A study to be released on Thursday by Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial Inc found 65 percent of U.S. workers plan to stay on the job at least one more year than planned, an 11 percentage point increase from a similar survey in January.

"There is a huge drop in confidence that has taken place," because of the fall of stock markets since 2007, Wes Thompson, president of Sun Life's U.S. division, told Reuters in an interview. At the same time, longer life expectancies mean individuals need to build up more savings before they stop working.

"It's not retire at 65, get ready to die at 70," Thompson said.

The survey was conducted in September of 2009, when stock markets had already begun their recovery.

Also, a forthcoming study by Prudential Financial Inc found that 66 percent of respondents over the age of 45 said they may need to work longer than expected to afford retirement.

And a recent survey by mutual fund giant Vanguard Group Inc of Pennsylvania found that 45 percent of American investors said putting off retirement was "possible" and the figure was nine percent points higher among people in their fifties.

It was the first year Vanguard has done the survey and the results were a striking reminder of the psychological impact of market declines, said Steve Utkus, head of Vanguard's Center for Retirement Research.   Continued...

<p>A trader sits outside the New York Stock Exchange October 6, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>