More Americans Worry About Affording Retirement

October 25, 2012 ( – Nearly four in 10 adults (38%) say they are “not too” or “not at all” confident they will have enough income and assets for their retirement, a Pew Research Center study found.

By Kristen Heinzinger | October 25, 2012
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This is up from 25% in a study conducted in late February and March of 2009. An analysis of both surveys also shows that concerns about retirement financing are now more heavily concentrated among younger and middle-age adults than those closer to retirement age—a major shift in the pattern that had prevailed at the end of the recession.

Among adults between ages 36 and 40, 53% say they are either “not too” or “not at all” confident that their income and assets with last through retirement. In contrast, only one-third (34%) of those ages 60 to 64 express similar concerns, as do 27% of 18- to 22-year-olds.

In 2009, it was Baby Boomers between ages 51 and 55 who were the most concerned. Only 18% of those 36 to 40 years old were worried they would fall short financially after they retire—one-third of the share who express a similar concern today.

There are also differences among demographic groups, the poll found. College graduates are much more likely than those who have a high school diploma or less to express confidence in their retirement finances (71% vs. 53%). Among those who attended college but do not have a bachelor’s degree, six-in-10 are sure that they will be financially prepared for retirement.

Those with household incomes of $100,000 or more also are significantly more confident than those earning less than $50,000 that they will have the financial resources to live on in retirement (79% vs. 51%).