Retirement Worries Still Top Financial Concerns List

May 2, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Gallup Organization is out with the results of its most recent personal finance poll and, not surprisingly, being able to enjoy a comfortable retirement continues to be a primary concern of most Americans.

A Gallup news release said that just over half of those responding to the poll (53%) think they will be able to live comfortably when they retire. Some 60% were either “very worried” or “moderately worried” about having a big enough nest egg. “Retirement has been the chief financial worry of Americans for each of the last five years,” the Gallup pollsters said.

In general, non-retirees are fairly upbeat when it comes to retirement, despite the high level of concern about retirement and the substantial proportion of Americans who do not expect to live comfortably during retirement. When given a choice, 69% of non-retirees say they are “looking forward to retirement,” while 25% say they are “dreading” it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean respondents are counting the days until they punch their last clock. Sixty-four percent of non-retirees say they would like to work part time when they retire, according to Gallup.

Also, respondents not yet retired expect to retire an average four years later than the average age when current retirees stopped working and those still in the workforce expect to rely much less on Social Security than is the current experience of the retirees.

Once past the retirement issue, some 52% of respondents said they fretted about “not being able to pay medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident,” the only other issue for which a majority expresses worry. Four in 10 are worried about paying the costs of normal health care and being able to maintain their current standard of living. Americans are far less worried about paying normal monthly bills (13%), their mortgages (10%) or housing payments and the minimum payments on their credit cards (7%).

According to the news release, nearly half of non-retirees expect a 401(k) plan or IRA to be a major source of income when they retire, significantly more than any of the other sources asked about. Only 28% of non-retirees say Social Security will be a major source of retirement funding while about a quarter expect a pension plan or their home equity to be a major retirement funding source, Gallup said.

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