Credit blind faith: Retirement confidence rises

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Americans are more confident that they’ll be able to retire comfortably than they have been in years, but their confidence may be based on little more than wishful thinking. That’s one way to read the results of the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 24th annual Retirement Confidence Survey.

Eighteen percent of workers surveyed told EBRI that they are “very confident” they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement, up from 13% in 2013. The survey found 37% feeling “somewhat confident.”

That’s a significant rebound from the historically low confidence levels of 2009 to 2013, but it’s a far cry from the 70% who reported in 2007 that they were “very” or “somewhat” confident about their retirement prospects.

Yet reported worker savings remain low, and few appear to be taking basic steps to prepare for retirement.

  • Only 57% of employees say they or their spouses have saved any money at all for retirement.
  • Of those that did, 60% report savings of less than $25,000—and 36% have socked away less than $1,000.
  • Just 11% report having more than $250,000 in their retirement accounts.
  • Only 44% report they have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved by the time they retire.
  • About 20% report they have sought investment advice from a professional financial advisor, but only 27% of those employees said they had followed it.

The good news: Employees who participate in a retirement savings plan at work are much more likely to have built retirement nest eggs, and they are much more confident about their prospects.

“Retirement confidence is strongly related to retirement plan participation,” noted Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director, and co-author of the report.

Read the sobering survey details in the March 2014 EBRI Issue Brief.

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