Americans Continue to Lose Confidence about Retirement

November 11, 2011 ( - According to a new Associated poll, only 47% of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 say they feel confident they will be able to afford a comfortable retirement, down from 55% in March.

As a result, a growing number of midlifers (73% compared with 67% in March) say they plan to keep working in retirement. Many midlifers are postponing their exodus from the workplace, with 16% planning to wait until after age 70. About a quarter (27% now, similar to 25% in March) say they “never plan to retire.” (Three in 10 midlifers say they already consider themselves retired.)  

Increasingly, midlifers are counting on Uncle Sam. According to the poll, 45% (up slightly from 40% in March) say they will rely heavily on Social Security. By contrast, 29% (up slightly from 24%) say an employer-paid pension will play a vital role in their retirement income.  

Younger people are more likely to say that they will depend on a workplace retirement savings plan than midlifers (37% among those born later than 1964 call it “extremely important”) and less likely to depend on Social Security (35% of that age group call Social Security “extremely important”).  

More than any other age group, midlifers think about retirement. One-third of 47- to 65-year-olds devote a “great deal” of thought to it – compared with just 10% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 19% of 30- to 46-year-olds, and 22% of Americans 66 and older. 

Where Will Money Come From?  

According to the Associated poll, 41% of midlifers expect they will need to scale back their lifestyle in retirement, and 31% believe they will struggle financially.  

Yet, their relatives are off the hook. Only 10% say they expect money from other family members to be either "extremely important" or "very important." Only 5% say they expect to be either "extremely likely" or "very likely" to be financially dependent on their kids or other family members, and only 4% say it's "extremely likely" or "very likely" that they will need to move into the home of one of their children or that of another family member.   

In addition, most midlifers are not relying on money from the sale of their home. Only 20% expect it to be "extremely important" or "very important."   

With the Dow Jones average falling more than 10% from March until the time the poll was taken, 62% (5% more than in March) say that one or more of their investments has taken a hit. Forty-two percent lost money on a workplace retirement savings plan, 41% on personal investments outside of an Individual Retirement Account or workplace savings, 32% on an IRA, and 29% on real estate.   

Among these respondents, 53% now say they will retire later than they expected.  

Yet Americans remain positive. According to the poll, 70% of 47- to 65-year-olds say they are either "very happy" or "somewhat happy." And 71% say their health is either "excellent" or "good."  

More about the AP-Life Goes Stong is available at