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Retirement savings continue to drop; confidence stays low

March 9, 2010 |  8:59 am

The percentage of workers with virtually no savings is growing, and the outlook for a financially stable retirement is dismal, according to a report released Tuesday.

In 2010, about 27% of workers have less than $1,000 stashed away, compared with 20% in 2009, according to the annual Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute

Of the workers with some form of savings, 54% said they have less than $25,000. The same percentage said they need at least $500,000 for retirement. But just 46% have actually calculated how much they need to be secure in retirement.

The private nonprofit institute, along with market research firm Mathew Greenwald and Associates Inc., surveyed 1,153 U.S. workers and retirees ages 25 and up in January.

Fewer workers have saved at all for their golden years -- 69%, compared with 75% in 2009 -- and even fewer said they were currently doing so.

Just 16% of workers said they were very confident in their ability to save enough money for a comfortable retirement -- the second-lowest level in the survey’s 20-year history. The percentage for retirees saying the same was 19%.

But 32% of workers said they were very confident in their ability to wisely invest their savings, up from 24% in 2009. More than half said they were somewhat confident.

As for expected sources of retirement income, fewer workers noted Social Security and defined benefit plans. More pointed to employer-sponsored savings plans and payrolls. General confidence in the federal government, banks and insurance companies was low.

And with the struggling economy, unstable job market and roller-coaster stock market, 24% of workers said they have postponed their planned retirement age, up from the 14% who did the same in 2009. A third of workers now anticipate retiring after they turn 65.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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