Poll reveals baby boomers' retirement fears

WASHINGTON — Baby boomers facing retirement are worried about their finances, and many believe they'll need to work longer than planned or will never be able to retire, a new poll finds.

The 77 million-strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 has clung tenaciously to its youth. Now, boomers are getting nervous about retirement. Only 11 percent say they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort, according to a new Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll.

A total of 55 percent said they were either somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security. But 44 percent express little or no faith they'll have enough money when their careers end.

Further underscoring the financial squeeze, one in four boomers still working say they'll never retire. That's about the same number as those who say they have no retirement savings.

The poll comes as politicians face growing pressure to curb record federal deficits, and budget hawks of both parties have expressed a willingness to scale back Social Security, the government's biggest program.

The survey suggests how politically risky that would be: 64 percent of boomers see Social Security as the keystone of their retirement earnings, far outpacing pensions, investments and other income.

Nearly six in 10 baby boomers say their workplace retirement plans, personal investments or real estate lost value during the economic crisis of the past three years. Of this group, 42 percent say they'll have to delay retirement because their nest eggs shrank.

Though the first boomers are turning 65 this year, the poll finds that 28 percent already consider themselves retired. Of those still working, nearly half want to retire by age 65 and about a quarter envision retiring between 66 and 70.

Two-thirds of those still on the job say they will keep working after they retire.

"I'm going to keep working after I retire, if nothing else for the health care," said Nadine Krieger, 58, a food plant worker from East Berlin, Pa., adding that her $50,000 in retirement savings won't go far.

Excluding their homes, 24 percent of boomers say they have no retirement savings. At the other end, about 10 percent say they have banked at least $500,000.

Despite the worries and dearth of savings cited by many, only about a third of boomers say it's likely that they'll have to make do with a more modest lifestyle once they retire. Only about 25 percent expect to struggle just to pay their expenses.

Boomer worries

Some of the findings from an Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll about retirement and finances among those born between 1946 and 1964:

. 11 percent said they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort in retirement.

. 55 percent said they are somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security.

. 44 percent expressed little or no faith they'll have enough money when their careers end.

. 64 percent see Social Security as the keystone of their retirement earnings, far outpacing pensions, investments and other income.

Poll reveals baby boomers' retirement fears 04/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:00am]

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