Many pre-retirees may have unrealistic ideas about how well postponing retirement can help compensate for lack of retirement savings.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA), Schaumburg, Ill., has presented that thought in an analysis of results from a 2009 survey of retirees and older workers who are nearing the usual retirement age. The SOA commissioned a poll of 401 retirees and 403 pre-retirees ages 45 to 80.

About 23% of the retirees interviewed said they believe they have to return to work because of a lack of financial resources, and 64% of the pre-retirees said they feel they need to work longer.

But working longer may not be feasible for many people approaching retirement due to the effects of job losses and the difficulty of finding work in the current tough job market, the SOA says.

More than 40% of U.S. worker end up retiring earlier than planned, the SOA says.

The SOA also found that pre-retirees are more concerned than retirees about inflation: 71% of the pre-retirees worry about inflation, compared with 58% of the retirees.

Health care costs are major worry for 49% of the retirees and 67% of the pre-retirees.

Only 17% of the retirees and 25% of the pre-retirees said they feel an increased need for professional financial advice as a result of the recession.

- Warren S. Hersch

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