Workers Show Record Drop in Retirement Confidence, Health Care and Economy Are Major Concerns

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

From the press release:
Reflecting the growing concern over health care costs and economic issues, American workers’ confidence in being able to afford a comfortable retirement decreased over the past year by a rate unmatched in the 18 years of the Retirement Confidence Survey(RCS), according to results released today.

The percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement decreased sharply, from 27 percent in 2007 to 18 percent in 2008, the biggest one-year drop in the 18-year history of the survey. Retiree confidence in having a financially secure retirement also decreased, from 41 percent to 29 percent, a drop of 12 percentage points. Decreases in confidence occurred across all age groups and income levels but was particularly acute among younger workers and those with lower income.
RCS results indicate health costs in particular have become a big concern for retirees: Among retirees who left the work force earlier than planned, more than half (54 percent) say they did so because of health problems or disability. Almost half of retirees (44 percent) say they have spent more than expected on health care expenses. More than half of retirees (54 per- cent) say they are now more concerned about their financial future than they were right after they retired, a 14 percentage- point increase from a year ago (40 percent in 2007).

“In the nearly two decades we have been conducting the RCS, this year’s results show a very dramatic reduction in the public’s confidence about having a comfortable retirement. The economy and health costs are major concerns,” said Dallas Salisbury, president of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), which conducted the survey with Mathew Greenwald & Associates. “If there is abeing able to afford retirement.”

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