2011 Retirement Confidence Survey: Workers’ Pessimism About Retirement Deepens, Reflecting “the New Normal”

In a sign that Americans are recognizing the realities they face about their chances for a comfortable retirement, the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds workers are more pessimistic than at any time in the two decades the RCS has been conducted: More than a quarter (27 percent) of workers now say they are “not at all confident” about retirement, up 5 percentage points from the level measured just one year ago.

Reinforcing that trend, the percentage of workers saying they are “very confident” of a comfortable retirement ties with 2009 at 13 percent—the lowest rate ever measured by the RCS, released today (March 15) by EBRI and Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

 The survey also found that roughly a third of both workers and retirees said they had to dip into their savings last year to pay for basic expenses. Significantly, the RCS also found that those with retirement savings—such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA)—were far less likely than those without these accounts to tap into their savings

The full report is published in the March 2011 EBRI Issue Brief, online at www.ebri.org:

Selected media coverage of the 2011 RCS:

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