The biggest financial worry respondents say keeps them awake at night is the ability to pay for basic necessities during retirement (up to 48% from 38% a year ago), according to a Principal news release. Workers are concerned that they will not be able to afford good medical care or sustain the same quality of life they currently enjoy (up to 44% from 39%), while retirees say their sleepless nights are due to the rising cost of inflation eating into their purchasing power (up to 44% from 28%).
Retirees are also concerned about their ability to maintain the same quality of life they enjoyed before retirement (up to 30% from 20%), affordability of good medical coverage (30% from 29%), and ability to pay for basic necessities (29%, up from 21%). Only 58% of workers and 80% of retirees feel confident they will have enough money to take care of basic expenses during retirement.
In addition, the news release said 53% of workers and 73% of retirees think they will have a retirement that is at least as affluent as their parents’, and 42% of workers and 61% of retirees are confident they will not have to worry about financial matters during retirement.
Despite these retirement worries, nearly a third of workers (31%) still have not planned for retirement. Nearly a quarter of retirees (22%) report they did not even begin to think seriously about retirement finances until they had retired, but looking back, 71% of retirees wish they had begun planning more than a decade before retiring.
As for managing retirement savings, 65% of workers say having a guaranteed monthly income is more important than having a contingency plan in case of a medical illness (60%), and 59% of workers say growth in account value is important. For retirees, a guaranteed monthly income is most important (59%), and cost of living adjustments (56%) rank second.
The latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index shows significantly more workers (61%, up from 56%) and retirees (61%, up from 55%) cut overall spending this quarter compared with second quarter 2008.
According to the Principal news release, in response to rising grocery and consumer prices, workers are:
- Eating out less (81%, up from 79% last quarter),
- Spending less on clothing and other consumer items (75%, up from 74%),
- Cutting back on entertainment (75%, down from 76%), and
- Driving less to save gas money (59%, up from 52%).
In addition, Principal found significantly more workers this quarter made cuts to compensate for rising fuel costs:
- 61% (up from 56% last quarter) are driving less,
- 43% (up from 36%) are spending less on basic necessities,
- 12% (up from 7%) have fallen behind on monthly bills, and
- 74% of retirees (up from 56%) are driving less.
Workers' top concern for the election season is the economy/jobs, up to 79% from 52% a year ago. Only about one-third (35%) of workers are confident that one or more of the presidential candidates is capable of effectively dealing with the issue.
The Principal Financial Well-Being Index survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Principal Financial Group between July 31-August 11, 2008, among 1,331 employees and 726 retirees.
More information is at www.principal.com .
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