Poll: Boomers' Anxiety About Retirement Grows

WASHINGTON (AP) - A majority of baby boomers say they have taken a financial hit in the past three years and most now doubt that they will be financially secure after they retire, according to a new poll.

So much for kicking back at the lake house, long afternoons of golf or pretty much anything this generation had dreamed about in retirement. The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found a baby boom generation planning to work into retirement years - with 73 percent planning to work past retirement, up from 67 percent this spring.

In all, 53 percent of boomers polled said they do not feel confident they'll be able to afford a comfortable retirement. That's up from 44 percent who were concerned about retirement finances in March.

"I'm not confident at all," says 63-year-old Susan Webb of West Liberty, Iowa.

Webb - one of the 77 million boomers born between 1946 and 1964 - had long hoped to retire at 65 from her job as a real estate broker. Not anymore, not since the economic downturn that led to depressed housing prices, wild stock market swings and an unemployment rate hovering at or above 9 percent for all but two months since May 2009.

Webb and her husband, who's 67, are both still working full time. They hope to ratchet back to part time at some point, but plans for a scenic lake house where they can go fishing and spend time with their two grandchildren will likely mean selling their current home - not part of the original plan.

At 50, Cheri Hubbs of Norfolk, Va., is on the younger side of the boomer spectrum. Even so, she knows she'll work in retirement.

"I just feel like I'm going to work until the day I die," says Hubbs, an administrative assistant.

Hubbs had little saved for retirement when she went to see a financial planner a few years ago. Now, she and her husband are socking away as much money as they can. She's also cut back drastically on her little luxuries - trips to the nail salon and Starbucks (SBUX).

In the poll, 41 percent of boomers said they are expecting to have to scale back their lifestyle in some way in retirement and 31 percent believe they will struggle financially.

Retirement expert Olivia Mitchell says working longer and cutting back are two practical ways for boomers to save more.
"It's a kind of downscaled consumer society that I see in the next five years at least," said Mitchell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and executive director of the Pension Research Council. "Consume less and tighten the belt."

Downsizing is part of the plan for software designer Greg Schmidt of Carlisle, Mass.

Schmidt, 53, says there's no doubt he'll be working longer, likely into his 70s. With a daughter in high school and twin 12-year-old boys, he's got college tuitions to worry about as well as an aging father and father-in-law.

He plans one day to move to a smaller home, maybe in the mountains of Vermont. Almost one-quarter of boomers in the poll - 23 percent - said retirement will mean they'll have to move.

For Schmidt, the stock market is another source of anxiety.

"I am most concerned that we're going to be entering a different time and equities aren't quite as valued," he said. "I am afraid I'm a little heavy into equities."

The span between the two AP-LifeGoesStrong.com polls coincided with a 10 percent drop in the Dow Jones industrial average, which recovered most of those losses by climbing this week to above 12,000 before plunging again amid concerns about Europe's debt crisis.

In all, 62 percent of the boomers polled lost money on at least one of four core parts of retirement savings:

-A workplace retirement savings plan, 42 percent.

-Personal investments outside of an IRA/workplace savings, 41 percent.

-An IRA (individual retirement account), 32 percent.

-Real estate, 29 percent.

The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was conducted Oct. 5-12 by Knowledge Networks of Palo Alto, Calif. It involved online interviews with 1,095 baby boomers, as well as companion interviews with an additional 315 adults of other age groups. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for baby boomers and 4.8 percentage points for all adults.

Knowledge Networks used traditional telephone and mail sampling methods to randomly recruit respondents. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.


AP Polling Director Trevor Tompson, Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.



Poll results: http://surveys.ap.org

LifeGoesStrong.com: http://family.lifegoesstrong.com/bad-economics-midlifers-push-back-their-retirement-date-again

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These kind of stories are getting old.

November 12 2011 at 5:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

While only 53% of Americans still pay income taxes, less than 20% have actually saved more than $25,000 for their retirement. SO they will have to get by on $1,000 a month or less , If SS doesn't go broke first,

November 12 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Any boomers that ever thought the governement would take care of you instead you taking care of yourself for retirement were just plain stupid. Never count on a socialized program to sustain you while you carelessly spent all your money on expensive cars, McMansions, expensive vacations and toys. Anyone with at least a high school education would know to start stashing in their early 20's. My wife & I did and we will be set for retirement in 10 years without any help from anyone. I do not want to pay higher taxes to support those that did not plan properly when they had 45 or so years to stash for themselves. Don't blame anything on wall street or the idiots that run our country-they do not have and have never had your best interest in mind.

November 11 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mbzmc's comment

You are absolutely correct. Why should we pay for those that squandered their money instead of saving for retirement like we did. It was a real sacrifice and we had to do without while saving for far onto the future. Now they want us to pay for their retirement, Not a chance in hell I say. It is bad enough we we were forced to subsidise their SS.

November 12 2011 at 5:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Kinda hard to retire "securely" when the Gubment & Federal Reserve Bank are kicking seniors under da bus...

November 11 2011 at 2:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I am tired of people complaining about retirement. My wife and I saved our money. Never counted on the company or government to take care of me in retirement. The other day I stopped to see one of the complainers he said I was driving junk 2004 car with 200000 miles. He laughed at it, but I own not the bank. HaHaHa

November 11 2011 at 2:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rlbharman's comment

I drive a nice 2001 car that has 85,000 miles on it that i bought new for my wife. I will likely drive it another 10 years. Even though I could have been driving a BMW, I just couldn't see how that would make my retirement any better or easier in any way.

November 12 2011 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Most boomers have lived to large for to long and need to realize they don't need all they have. If you live far enough below your means and forget about all the extras that you really don't require to be happy you will be surprised how early you can retire. Make the kids work while they go to college, be happy with a used car, sell the big house and go live in the little cabin on the lake now.

November 11 2011 at 7:39 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sunryzcove's comment

Not only the boomers, but also their children and their children have become conspicous consumers in the last 50 years. A small percentage of the population can have a lot of stuff and a lot of money, but the middle-class can either have stuff or money, not both.

November 11 2011 at 10:35 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

10 years ago I tried to get people to sell their McMansions while they still could before they wanted to retire and downsize. Then I thought everyone like them would want todo the same thing at the same time reducing the value of their home because of too much supply. But the housing bust was much much worse than that. Now their McMansions are nearly worthless and their plans are shot to hell - likely forever. Now they know why homes are never ever considered part of your net worth.

November 12 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Medicare must be reduced by 35 % if America is going to recover.

Medicare is 70 % of the Total Debt which is destroying the USA !

Fix Medicare and most of the rest takes care of itself !

November 11 2011 at 12:05 AM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply


November 10 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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--------AP Polling Director Trevor Tompson, Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

November 10 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

don't feel so bad after reading this having retired 12 years ago at age 50 and doing just fine. The joy of retirement is where one finds it and one, or two, do not need as nearly as much as one thinks one may need.

November 10 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ebreit19's comment

when it comes to "things" less is more. congrats to you!

November 11 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply