Only Half of Americans Expect a Comfortable Retirement

The rest of us worry a lot about how debt and job insecurity keep us from saving more, and we don’t do enough planning, according to a new survey.

The Kansas City Star reported earlier this week on a new survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute which finds most people aren’t confident about what retirement will look like, and many haven’t tried to figure it out.

The study included over 1,000 working adults, and confidence was at its lowest in 20 years. More than a quarter said they were “not at all confident” in living life out comfortably, up from 10 percent in 2007. Just 13 percent were “very confident,” down from 27 percent in 2007. Most gave wishy-washy answers.

Survey participants were most worried about job insecurity (30 percent) and debt (16 percent) preventing progress toward retirement. Two-thirds said their debt level was the same or higher than five years ago. About half said they could come up with $2,000 within a month if a medical emergency suddenly happened.

Fewer than half had attempted to calculate how much money they needed to live on after retiring, and more than a quarter said they had less than a grand in a retirement fund. But some people are definitely saving: we wrote in November that 401ks at Fidelity have the highest average balance ever.

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