In 2011, prior to the U.S. debt downgrade and the most recent bout of market volatility, retirees and pre-retirees were less concerned with their finances than they were in 2009, the Society of Actuaries found. In a report released in September, SOA found 62% of retirees and 65% of pre-retirees were more concerned about their finances than they were five years ago, but their level of worry had “decreased significantly” since 2009.
In 2009, 25% of retirees said their financial situation was much worse after the recession. That percentage fell slightly to 23% in 2011. Among pre-retirees, the difference was more significant. Over a third of pre-retirees said in 2009 that they were much worse off after the recession, compared with 25% who said the same in 2011.
SOA’s report is based on a biennial survey conducted in July 2011 among 1,600 adults between ages 45 and 80. Half of respondents were retired and half were not.
Although SOA didn’t survey respondents again this year and won’t until 2013, Anna Rappaport, spokeswoman for the organization, suggested that the trend has continued. “Generally, people are feeling a little better about the economy,” she told AdvisorOne on Thursday.
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The Conference Board, which releases monthly data on consumers’ confidence level, found the Consumer Confidence Index increased nine points in September. The Board found consumers are more optimistic about their present situation, as well as the short-term outlook for business conditions.
The report found the changes people put in place following the recession are still being maintained, but noted that retirees and pre-retirees have yet to learn how to manage risk properly.
“Economic change makes it more imperative that people do careful planning and evaluation, yet also makes it more difficult to do so,” the report says. “Research to date does not show much change in the way that people are planning, and it does not indicate that more people are thinking longer term, hiring advisors, or attempting to do more analysis of the influences that could affect their retirement security.”
Economic changes and market volatility have highlighted the importance of planning for retirement and good money management in general. Two-thirds of pre-retirees and 52% of retirees said they needed to do a better job of minding their finances and planning for retirement. Almost three-quarters of pre-retirees said they needed to save more money, compared with half of retirees.