Poll: Boomers are Unsure about Retirement Nest Egg

June 7, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Many Baby Boomers responding to a recent survey were uncertain about how big of a retirement nest egg they will need and where those funds will come from.

A news release from home builder Del Webb found that just over half of all Baby Boomers surveyed (52% younger Boomers, 54% older Boomers) feel they have an understanding of the issues facing Social Security and 62% of Boomers ages 41-54 believing the system is in crisis.Three quarters of the same 41-54 age group say they aren’t planning to rely solely on Social Security for retirement and 81% of respondents ages 55-69 say they also don’t plan to rely fully on Social Security benefits.

Boomers most affected by potential changes in Social Security (ages 41-54) are more likely to believe they will need another source of income to finance their retirement and are more likely to invest in private accounts, the survey found. Some 62% of Boomers ages 41-54 believe the program is in crisis, and 34% of this group expressed an interest in investing a portion of Social Security in a private account as now being championed by President Bush. A pension from a former employer was the third most-important source of retirement income for respondents ages 50-59 (48%) and 60-69 (47%).

Although six in 10 of non-retired Boomers age 41-54 say they don’t know what their monthly benefit will be at retirement, 75% of all respondents ages 41-54 say they do not plan to rely solely on Social Security benefits.Uncertainty about the future of Social Security has caused a quarter of non-retired Boomers ages 41-54 to admit they won’t retire as soon as expected, but 62% of nonretired respondents ages 55 and older say they’ll stop working right when they planned.

Health Care Concerns

Also on the minds of Boomers, according to this year’s survey, is the rising cost of health insurance and prescription medicines. Regardless of age, all respondents said health care costs topped their respective lists of financial concerns during retirement, including health insurance (74%), prescription medicine (71%), and long-term care insurance (58%).

In projecting their longevity, 40% of all respondents said they hope to live to 80 to 89 years old, 20% said 90-99, and 22% said 100 or older. But when asked to estimate how long their savings would need to last after retirement, 42% of all respondents said they weren’t sure.

Anticipation of retirement increases with age as Boomers look forward to active pursuits such as traveling, exercising, volunteering or continuing working, either full- or part-time. Enthusiasm about pending retirement increases with age among respondents in their 40s and 50s, with 45% and 56% indicating “excitement,” respectively.

Of those who will continue to work, 49% of younger Boomers, age 41-49, and 37% of older Boomers, age 50-59, plan to continue because they need the money, the survey found. Of those who will continue to work, 33% of pre-Boomers, age 60-69, say they will continue because they enjoy it, and 22% of this group will continue because “it keeps me active.”

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey between April 14-20, 2005, among 1,802 adults age 41-69 who live in 10 regions of the UShttp://onlinepressroom.net/pulte/babyboomer .