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Employees still worried about personal financial security

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Workers who participate in employer-sponsored benefits plans are more optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy in general, but remain extremely concerned about their own situations, according to a new survey by the benefits consulting firm Mercer.

Their anxiety shows in greater worry about keeping their jobs and the adequacy of their retirement benefits.

When Mercer surveyed 1,500 employees this summer, it found that 77% expected the economy to grow in the coming year, up from 56% in 2008. Only 23% thought a double-dip recession was likely.

But when asked about perceived job security over the next 12 months, 36% said they are at least “concerned.” That’s the highest level since the survey’s inception in 2001.

More than one third (35%) of participants have at least considered delaying retirement because their 401(k)s and other retirement funds and investments have taken such big hits since September 2008.

Twenty percent said their biggest worry was retirement savings, more than those who cited keeping up with expenses (18%), managing credit card debt (12%) and dealing with long-term care issues (11%).

Sixty-five percent said they hadn’t saved enough for retirement, and 64% said they should have started saving earlier. Employees continue to lower their expectations for retirement income, saying they hope to be able to live on an average of 76% of pre-retirement annual income, down from 82% in May 2006.

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