September 6, 2010

Labor Day Survey: Many Workers Think Retirement Will Never Happen

Nearly two-thirds doubt they'll have the money

It's a good thing Americans love their jobs. They're going to need them for a long, long time, according to the StrategyOne Labor Day American Worker survey released Friday, September 3.

Respondents to the survey, conducted between August 20 and 23, claimed to be satisfied with their jobs (82%) and got satisfaction from them (80%). Eighty-three percent said they felt that their bosses respected them, and 82% felt their work was respected. But these cheery responses have a dark undertone: 64% believe that it's realistic to think they will never retire, and only 48% look upon what they do as a career rather than just a job (52%).

Wages and salaries have been cut for 46% of respondents in the last couple of years; 48% are afraid of having their hours cut and 44% fear losing their jobs altogether.

And even though they say they're happy with their jobs, fully 56% would jump ship if they could get the same pay/benefits elsewhere--considering that 35% say their bosses expect them to work extra hours for no additional pay or without a raise, perhaps that's not surprising. It may be the same 35% who say they're just there for the money and don't care much about the company.

Jane White, president and founder of Retirement Solutions, LLC, who also served as a congressionally appointed delegate to the 2002 National Summit on Retirement Savings, cites pension actuaries as calculating that 38 million Americans will be unable to retire because of inadequate savings. In addition to offering advice on how to save more for that all-important "gold watch" day, she advocates a change in 401(k) plans to enable more Americans to retire: larger and mandatory contributions from employers to the plans they offer employees. She cites Australia as an example of a country in which such a plan works to the benefit of its citizens.

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