Americans Confident About Retirement ? But Aren't Giving it Much Thought

December 6, 2001 ( - Three-fifths (60%) of respondents to a new Zogby poll expect their lifestyle to remain the same after retirement, but nearly a third (29%) aren't even thinking about it.

Over a quarter (27%) think their lifestyle will improve in retirement, perhaps in part because 77% say that they are now saving at a rate that will enable them to maintain their current lifestyle. 

Nearly half (49%) are looking forward to retirement – but nearly one in five (19%) are worried about it.  Nearly a third (29%) say they aren’t even thinking about it, according to the MetLife Survey of American Attitudes Toward Retirement.

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Not surprisingly, while 58% of those earning more than $75, 000/year are looking forward to retirement, only 36% of those in the $15,000-$24,999 bracket do. 

Retirement Worries

Nearly a third (31%) say their greatest retirement concern is becoming sick, but nearly two-thirds (63%) don’t believe they will have enough savings to pay for long-term care if they develop a disabling condition and are no longer able to function independently.  And the vast majority (85%) doesn’t expect to be able to rely on the government to pay for it.

Forty-four percent of respondents indicate that they plan to purchase long-term care insurance to prepare for incapacity, but just 10% have already purchased it.

Savings Pace
More than half (56%) of the survey respondents admit they are less frugal than their parents, but despite that, nearly two-thirds (64%) expect to have more money available in retirement.  While more than a third say it is likely they may spend some time in a nursing home, just 3% expect to be in a nursing home at the end of their life. 

Across all economic groups, the most important considerations for satisfaction in retirement are:

– being healthy (42%)
– well being of family (20%)
– spiritual fulfillment (18%).

Home Base

The survey found that African-Americans (53%) are much more likely than whites (37%) or Hispanics (17%) to expect to move in with their children if they are unable to take care of themselves.  Interestingly enough, African-Americans also think of retirement as a time to spend with family, while Whites view it more as an opportunity to pursue hobbies and to travel, according to the survey.

The survey was based on 1,208 randomly selected adults between the ages of 38 and 55, interviewed in mid-2001.