American Workers Lose Confidence in Retirement

October 19, 2011 ( – Sun Life Financial’s latest Unretirement Index finds one in five working Americans say they will never retire.

Only 23% of working Americans feel very confident that they will meet basic living expenses in retirement – plunging from double that number (42%) last year.  

Confidence in the future of Social Security has plunged over the last four years, to 9% in 2011 from over double that (22%) in 2008. Confidence about Medicare benefits has also plummeted, to 8% in 2011 from over double that (20%) in 2008.   

On the positive side, at all wealth levels, respondents who expect to receive guaranteed lifetime income from annuities by age 67, or who own long-term care insurance products, feel significantly more confident about retirement.   

According to a press release, the Unretirement Index is scored on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 reflecting highest confidence about retirement. The Index score dropped from near the midrange (44) in September 2010 toward the bottom third of the scale (36) in September 2011, down 18.2%.   

The overall Index is a composite score based on five subject areas, which all revealed declines in confidence compared to last year. On a year-to-year basis, confidence dropped as follows in the following subject areas: employee benefits (-31.7%), the economy (-25%), government benefits (-21.6%), personal finances (-13.9%), and personal health (-13.2%).   

The results were based on a sample of 1,499 people working full-time, part-time, or in job transition, which was representative of the U.S. working population between the ages of 18 and 66.  

The full report is at