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Survey highlights financial worries for American workers

November 29, 2011

| Money Rates Columnist

A new study from MassMutual Retirement Services shows that more than half of Americans older than 50 are considering working later in life because they don't have enough in their savings accounts to provide for a comfortable retirement.

The survey of workers eligible to participate in an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan, such as 401(k) savings accounts, also found that the biggest financial worry among men is saving enough for retirement. Women, meanwhile, were more concerned about having enough money to keep up with monthly expenses.

Other findings from the survey, which was conducted by Brightwork Partners in June and July 2011, include:

  • More than a third of the workers surveyed have considered delaying retirement beyond their original date, with the percentage climbing steeply for those older than 50.
  • Two-thirds expect to work at least part-time and more than half figure they won't have enough to maintain their current standard of living in retirement.
  • Workers who are less than 30, perhaps cognizant of how low current mortgage rates are, are concerned about saving to buy a home. This concern ranked behind only meeting monthly expenses for this group.

The survey indicated that the percentage of people taking steps to improve their retirement savings accounts is far greater than the percentage who are diminishing their retirement savings accounts by decreasing contributions, taking loans or hardship withdrawals, or suspending contributions altogether.

Among those taking positive steps were:

  • About 19 percent of respondents said they are increasing their savings rate
  • About 18 percent said they are contributing to an IRA
  • About 19 percent said they are reallocating existing portfolios

Still, the survey found that Americans are taking a dim view of the U.S. economy. Almost one-third think the U.S. will be in another recession in the coming year, and nearly 40 percent are somewhat or very concerned about losing their jobs.

The biggest concern for people older than 60 is the "expense of catastrophic illness" and having the funds needed to provide long-term care for themselves or their spouse.


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