401k Fear on the Rise with American Workers

Anxiety is high in retirement planning

401k confidence, retirement, savingsWhat's the quickest way to erase the stress?

We’re beginning to see fear as a trend.

New findings from the Employee Benefit Research Institute mirror those from Vanguard Center for Investor Research from just a few weeks ago. Both conclude the angst and anxiety of planning for retirement are far worse than everyday retirement concerns themselves.

EBRI reports that the share of American workers who are “very confident” in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement remains low, and some workers report that preparing for retirement is emotionally or mentally stressful.

However, echoing Vanguard research, it also finds that among actual retirees, confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable lifestyle is “comparably high,” signaling it might be all in our heads.

According to EBRI:

  • Six out of 10 American workers feel very or somewhat confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, though just 18 percent feel very confident. The share of workers reporting that they feel either very or somewhat confident has declined compared with last year.
  • In addition to lacking confidence, 3 in 10 workers report that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed.
  • Another 3 in 10 workers say that they worry about their personal finances while at work, negatively affecting productivity. Among all workers, about half say that retirement planning, financial planning, or health care planning programs would be helpful in increasing their productivity at work.
  • Retiree confidence in having enough money continues to exceed worker confidence levels. Seventy-nine percent of retirees report feeling either very or somewhat confident about having enough money to live comfortably, including one-third of retirees who feel very confident.
  • Workers who have a retirement plan, whether a defined contribution plan, defined benefit plan, or IRA, are far more likely to feel confident about having enough money.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 workers not currently saving say they would be at least somewhat likely to save if contributions are matched by their employer.

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