(Bloomberg Business) — Whether the U.S. is or isn’t facing a retirement crisis isn’t a matter of debate for the majority of Americans. A new poll shows that 86 percent of people agree that it’s a crisis. And it’s hardly just those approaching retirement who see it that way. When the generation just starting to plan for retirement—them millennials—are singled out in the data, 92 percent agreed.
At the same time, the results from a report released Tuesday by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRI) show fewer Americans are worried they won’t have enough money to be self-sufficient in old age. Every two years, NIRI polls to see how Americans feel about (oxymoron alert) financial security in retirement, as well as their views on government policies that could make the retirementpicture less bleak. This year, overall results showed the percent of those concerned about their retirement outlook falling to 74 percent, from 85 percent in 2013. As well, more of those lucky people with pension plans now expect the money to be there when they retire—84 percent, up from 79 percent in 2013.
While defined benefit pensions are fast disappearing, the poll makes it very clear that they’re viewed as the holy grail of retirement security. The loss of pensions makes it harder to achieve the American dream, according to 78 percent of those surveyed. That belief seems to be getting more intense: More than half of those polled now strongly agreed that “those with pensions are more likely to have a secure retirement than those who do not.” Two out of three respondents also said they’d willingly accept smaller pay increases in exchange for that secure stream of income. For the youngest generation polled, the millennials, that number rose to 72 percent.