Retirement Pessimism Abounds a New Poll Finds

December 14, 2010 ( – A new Hartford Financial Services Group survey finds a striking sense of pessimism about the quality of respondents' retirement, with a hunger for enjoying life being replaced with a concern about affording the basics.

A Hartford news release said 69.3% of those polled reported their primary retirement concern is paying for food, shelter and other basic needs – significantly greater than the 24.5% who gave that answer in a 2007 survey.  Some 79.3% say they are less than confident that all of their sources of retirement income combined (government pension plan, employer pension plan, personal savings/assets) will be enough to pay the retirement bills – up from the 69.2% in a 2006 survey.

Getting enjoyment out of life plummeted from a high of 43.2% in a 2007 survey to 13.4% who gave that answer this year. This year, 16.5% see their retirement lasting more than 20 years, plummeting from 46.5 % who said so five years ago;

According to the news release, 38.6% of respondents said Social Security is the most important retirement income component, but 85.4% said it won’t be enough to pay the bills.

“The growing dependence on Social Security indicates a search for certainty in an uncertain world,” said John Diehl, senior vice president of The Hartford’s Wealth Management division, in the news release.  “For many people, Social Security represents the last remaining pillar of predictable retirement income after their pension plans were terminated and their retirement savings were devastated.  People are desperately looking for something they can count on.”

Some 41.2% say they intend to work longer and delay retirement or work part time during retirement as a way to fund retirement.

The Hartford’s 2010 Investments & Retirement Study surveyed 750 Americans ages 45 and older.