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84% of Americans are Anxious About Retirement

Eighty-four percent of Americans say they are anxious about retirement, says a National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) report released this month.

The report, based on a survey of 800 Americans ages 25 and older, found Americans view retirement as “simply surviving” and believe government is disconnected from the population’s retirement concerns. The study also found an “overwhelming majority of Americans believe the nation’s retirement infrastructure is crumbling and that stock market volatility makes it impossible to predict retirement savings.”

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In the same survey in 2009, 83% of Americans were anxious about retirement; this suggests the outlook has not improved over the course of the past year.

“This year, as the first of some 78 million Baby Boomers turn 65, they are experiencing a road to retirement that is shaky and full of potholes. The research indicates that the American people need and want relief from their retirement anxiety,” the report states.

“This report makes it clear that Americans understand we’re on the verge of a retirement breakdown. For decades, large shares of Americans had access to a ‘three-lane highway’ to retirement security: a pension, Social Security, and individual savings,” said Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director. “This year, as the first of some 78 million Baby Boomers turn 65, they are experiencing a road to retirement that is shaky and full of potholes. The research indicates that the American people need and want relief from their retirement anxiety,” Oakley added.

When it comes to traditional forms of retirement savings, only 59% of Americans have access to any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan, and only 45% of employees participate in a retirement plan at all, the report finds. In 2005, just 33% of people had access to traditional pension plans.

When asked how they would personally define what a financially secure retirement means, several respondents cited staying in their homes as part of a secure retirement.

View the full National Institute on Retirement Security report.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker