Retire & Stay Retired

From Employee Benefit Research Institute – March 2011

The 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Drops to Record Lows, Reflecting “the New Normal”
By Ruth Helman, Mathew Greenwald & Associates, and Craig Copeland and Jack VanDerhei, Employee Benefit Research Institute

RECORD-LOW CONFIDENCE: The 21st wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds that Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has plunged to a new low.

WORKERS NOT CONFIDENT: The percentage of workers not at all confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement grew from 22 percent in 2010 to 27 percent, the highest level measured in the 21 years of the RCS. At the same time, the percentage very confident shrank to the low of 13 percent that was first measured in 2009.

LITTLE OR NO SAVINGS: A sizable percentage of workers report they have virtually no savings or investments. Among RCS workers providing this type of information, 29 percent say they have less than $1,000. In total, more than half of workers (56 percent) report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000.

NO RETIREMENT SAVINGS GOAL: Many workers continue to be unaware of how much they need to save for retirement. Only 42 percent report they and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in retirement.

MORE EXPECTING TO WORK IN RETIREMENT: More workers now expect to work for pay in retirement. Seventy-four percent report they plan to work in retirement (up from 70 percent in 2010), three times the percentage of retirees who say they actually worked for pay in retirement (23 percent).