U.S. worker confidence in retirement hits new low

Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:00pm EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The recession has driven confidence among U.S. workers in the prospect of a comfortable retirement to record lows, research showed on Tuesday.

Only 13 percent of workers feel very confident they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement, the lowest level since the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a public policy research organization, began its annual study in 1993.

Respondents blamed economic uncertainty, a drop in the value of their retirement savings, and increases in healthcare and day-to-day expenses for their lowered expectations, it said.

Only a quarter of workers expect to have enough money to cover basic expenses in retirement, it said. Just 13 percent are very confident they can pay for medical expenses.

Yet while workers are worrying, many remain poor planners, the study showed.

Fewer than half, 44 percent, have tried to calculate how much they will need to have saved by the time they retire. The same number simply guess what they will need to be comfortable in retirement, it said.

Those who knew the most about their own financial realities were most likely to lose confidence in their futures.

Among workers who have calculated their retirement needs, the proportion calling themselves very confident dropped to 19 percent in 2009 from 29 percent the previous year.   Continued...

<p>Demonstrators from ACORN's Home Defenders rally outside the foreclosed home of Marie Elie in Elmont, New York, April 9, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>