Retirement, Golden Days At Risk: Survey

You would think something has got to give. But economic turmoil continues and job losses soar, as Americans looking for a quick fix of funds tap into that long-forbidden piggy bank — retirement assets. A growing number of Americans are concerned that the current economic crisis is threatening to leave them further behind on their retirement plans, according to a Retirement Savings Survey released Thursday by Bank of America Corp. (BAC). Close to one quarter of respondents indicated that the “impact of economic turbulence on their retirement savings” is the financial issue that concerns them most. The survey found that six in ten Americans are spending less than they were three months ago. More than half of the general public and 40 percent of affluent Americans — identified as individuals with investable assets between $100,000 and $3 million — are also saving less than they were three months ago. Approximately one in five cited they’re saving “much less.” “Today’s economic conditions are clearly having a significant impact on Americans’ near-term financial behavior, causing many to be or to believe they are in a less secure position to work toward their long-term retirement goals,” said Craig Averill, personal retirement solutions executive for Bank of America. “Based on this survey, it appears that many Americans are not fully able to save what is needed to retire as they had planned, and some are tapping into their nest eggs to meet more immediate financial needs.” Although the majority of respondents with at least one retirement account said that they have not withdrawn assets from their account(s) prematurely,  nearly one in five reported doing so, typically due to credit card debt and mortgage payments, with 22 percent blaming recent job loss. Many Americans — especially Baby Boomers who are approaching retirement and may not have time to recover financial losses– are unfortunately, watching the golden days of retirement diminish, according to the survey. Fourty-three percent of Americans believe they now face more years in the work force than expected just a year ago. Sixty-two percent of the general public and closer to half of affluent Americans are either behind schedule or have not started their retirement planning efforts. Despite recent market turmoil, more than two-thirds of respondents have not changed the way they save, invest or manage their retirement assets in the last three months. Nonetheless, 59 percent of the general public and more than half of affluent Americans don’t know or don’t have a good idea of how much they’ll need to save in order to maintain their current standard of living in retirement, according to the survey. And nearly 47 percent of Americans already in retirement, do not believe or are unsure if their retirement assets will cover their financial needs throughout their lifetime. Write to Kelly Curran at

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