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Nearly 25 Percent of Workers Put Retirement Plans on Hold

Key reasons include a change in employment status, 22 percent; inadequate finances, 16 percent; and the need to make up stock market losses, 12 percent.

March 10, 2010
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Almost 1 in 4 workers in an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey postponed plans to retire this year, with 29 percent of those citing the poor economy as the reason.

The key other reasons cited by the 24 percent who put off retirement plans included a change in employment status, 22 percent; inadequate finances, 16 percent; and the need to make up stock market losses, 12 percent, according to EBRI’s 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey, released Tuesday, March 9.

Also, only 69 percent of workers and their spouses this year reported having saved for retirement, down from 75 percent in last year’s survey.

Still, 16 percent of workers said they were very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement this year, up from 13 percent during the previous year.

Twenty-seven percent this year said the total value of their savings and investments in general, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined-benefit plan, were less than $1,000, and 54 percent said the total value was less than $25,000.

Annuities or other guaranteed-income product were purchased by 14 percent of retirees, and 11 percent of workers said they were very likely to do so.

“Americans’ attitudes toward retirement have clearly tracked the economy the last couple of years, and that seems to be the case in 2010,” said Jack VanDerhei, EBRI research director and a co-author of the survey, in a news release. “Unfortunately, while their attitudes are stabilizing, their preparation for retirement is not. A distressing number of people have no savings at all.”

The survey, based on telephone interviews in January with a total of 1,153 workers and retirees age 25 and older, was conducted by EBRI and research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates. 

Filed by Doug Halonen of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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