How Do Workers Feel About 401ks?

Expectations not returned to pre-crisis levels

401k, retirement, Social SecurityWith love and 401ks ...

Fully half of non-retired workers expect their 401k or other retirement savings accounts to be major sources of income in their golden years, according to a new Gallup survey.

It’s the highest the organization has recorded since April 2008, just before the financial crisis “sucked more than $2 trillion out of U.S. retirement accounts.”

However, expectation that their retirement account will “significantly fund their post-working years has not returned to where it was prior to the financial crisis.”

The percentage expecting their 401k, IRA, Keogh or other retirement account to be a major income source averaged about 52 percent in Gallup polling each April from 2001 through 2008. The highest point for this outlook was 58 percent in 2001, at the tail end of the dot-com boom, according to the organization.

At the same time, “the 34 percent of non-retirees counting on Social Security as a major source of retirement income is near its peak in Gallup’s 17-year trend.”

Retirement savings accounts and Social Security are the top two sources of income that today’s non-retirees expect to rely on the most.

The organization ends with a call for better policy to boost retirement savings and confidence.

“These findings underscore how important it is that legislative and financial policymakers do their jobs well,” it concludes. “That means helping to spur the economic growth needed to support both a strong stock market and thriving labor market. The latter alone could go a long way in improving the Social Security system’s fragile balance sheet.

“However, to the extent that policy changes are needed to keep the Social Security trust fund solvent, leaders and the public must be willing to make some tough choices. Future retirees are counting on it.”

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