Americans’ confidence in their ability to retire appears to be stabilizing, now that the economic volatility of the recession has abated. However, their self-described preparations for retirement continue to erode, according to the 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) released on March 9 by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald and Associates, a market research firm.
The RCS also finds that a growing number of American workers are also planning to delay retirement — which has negative implications for the U.S. job market, where unemployment is high and layoffs continue to grow. As older workers stay at their jobs longer, the RCS results suggest that fewer existing jobs are likely to open up.
“Americans’ attitudes toward retirement have clearly tracked the economy the last couple of years, and that seems to be the case in 2010,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director and co-author of the survey, in a statement. “Unfortunately, while their attitudes are stabilizing, their preparation for retirement is not. A distressing number of people have no savings at all.”
In addition to looking at long-term trends on workers pushing back their expected retirement age — which had been steadily growing even before the recent economic recession — this year’s RCS also reveals several other major trends that this unique survey has been tracking over the past two decades.
“The findings affirm that the role of the financial advisor is more critical today than ever,” said Tim Minard, vice president, retirement and investor services, Principal Financial Group, in an interview.
“Americans are feeling better about their financial futures, but they need help backing that up with the right actions. The survey shows that more of them are starting to seek the advice of financial advisors. Advisors who have a needs-based approach will clearly appeal more to today’s post-market meltdown investor,” explained Minard.
Among the survey’s key points:
o Stabilizing confidence: The percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement remains steady at 16 percent, which is statistically equivalent to the 20-year low of 13 percent measured in 2009. Retiree confidence about having a financially secure retirement has also stabilized, with 19 percent saying now they are very confident (statistically equivalent to the 20 percent measured in 2009).