As baby boomers get closer to retiring, many are increasingly unhappy about what they see ahead, a new survey finds.[@@]

Unhappiest of all are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual boomers, finds the survey, sponsored by MetLife Inc.’s Mature Market Institute.

As the first wave of boomers reaches age 59-1/2, the first year they are eligible to make tax-free withdrawals from their retirement plans, many are taking their long look at those plans, and a good portion are not pleased, MetLife found.

The study compared data from similar research the institute sponsored in 2001. It found the number of boomers who say they are worried about retirement has doubled. Younger members, ages 41 to 49, are most likely to be concerned.

When asked about their main criterion for satisfaction later in life, boomers in general are just as likely to cite finances as health, says Sandra Timmermann, director of the institute.

They “are very concerned that they will outlive their money, forcing them to scale back their current lifestyle,” she says.

Yet fewer are taking the steps needed to ensure financial security in retirement. Just 66% think they are saving at the rate needed to maintain their lifestyle, down from 77% in 2001, Timmerman reports.

MetLife found that boomers who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are especially worried about their later years==41%, compared to 33% in the heterosexual population. Staying healthy later in life is the most frequently cited consideration for satisfaction in retirement among GLBT Boomers; financial concerns are second.

The GLBT group also had much greater worries about being alone once they retire. The survey found 14% report lack of companionship as their greatest fear, compared to 6% of heterosexuals.

Only 54% of those in the GLBT group said they are saving enough to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, the survey found. And 16% of this group said they spend no time at all on retirement planning.

GLBT Boomers are just as likely as heterosexuals to expect to keep working beyond retirement age, but they are more likely than heterosexuals to say their reasoning is financial. By 40% to 28%, they are also more likely than heterosexuals to worry that physical limitations may limit their ability to function as they get older.

Looking at boomers in general, the MetLife survey also found the following:

?In 2001, most boomers thought they would retire between ages 55 and 64. Today, the median retirement age is between 65 and 70.

?Although 60% would prefer to retire before age 65, 17% say they will keep working indefinitely, a 10% increase over 2001.

?The number of boomers who believe retirement will improve their lifestyle fell from 27% in 2001 to 13% in 2005. Among women, 20% now say they will have to scale back “a lot.”

?Although boomers realize they will likely need some form of long term care, they have not bought long term care insurance. Many erroneously believe government programs will pay for long term care, MetLife found.