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Workers are more pessimistic about retirement, study finds

The silver lining from the Employee Benefit Research Institute survey is that workers may start to save more.

March 16, 2011|By Walter HamiltonLos Angeles Times

American workers are more downbeat than ever about their prospects for retirement, a new study has found. But that also means they are starting to realize how bad their financial condition is.

Confirming the findings of other recent research, a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found workers growing increasingly doubtful about their ability to finance comfortable retirements. The results were released Tuesday.

The percentage of workers describing themselves as "not at all comfortable" about their retirement outlook jumped to 27% from 22% a year ago. Only 13% are "very confident." Both figures in the latest results were the worst in the survey's 21-year history.

About 6 in 10 workers say they're stashing away money for retirement, but 56% of those have accumulated less than $25,000, excluding their homes and traditional pensions.

The silver lining, said Jack VanDerhei, the institute's research director, is that workers now sense that their situations are becoming so dire that they might be spurred into action.

"To me, these are positive findings: People are increasingly recognizing the level of savings realistically needed for a comfortable retirement," VanDerhei said. "People's expectations need to come closer to reality so they will save more and delay retirement until it is financially feasible."

walter.hamilton@latimes.com

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