Since the recession began in 2008 Americans have grown increasingly anxious about their long-term financial prospects. With each passing day, more people are losing their jobs, more doubt grows over the sustainability of Social Security and Medicare, and the costs of goods and services continue to rise. For retirees, it’s only a matter of time before beginning to wonder if their retirement savings are enough to survive on in these tough economic times.
Retirement Affects Everyone, Everywhere
The number of people who are facing retirement or have already retired is growing. For each person who reaches retirement age, they must make a tough financial decision. Have they saved enough for retirement? Will they be able to afford to live without regular income from working? Will they outlive their retirement accounts? These are the questions that must be asked.
You May Be Lacking Retirement Savings
Millions of seniors have seen their retirement accounts decline in value, thanks to a significant decline in stock prices. For these people, confidence in the ability to retire has declined significantly. The rising costs of senior health care and prescription medications has forced elderly persons back into a work force that is already struggling to provide jobs for younger workers.
Concerns about Retirement Increase
A recent study of consumer confidence about retirement by Sun Life found that, in September 2011, more people believed, based on their retirement savings, that they would be unable to provide for their basic living needs in retirement than believed that they would have no problem affording retirement. This is a fundamental shift in the thinking of American workers and retirees. The growing uncertainty has forced seniors to cut back on their basic living expenses, trying to stretch them to fit their lifespan and any emergencies.
What is in Store for the Future?
Many people are delaying their retirement entirely. Some are looking at working until they die, which is a grim statistic in the American labor force. How many 85-year-olds do you know that are still actively employed, especially in jobs that require grueling, physically demanding tasks? The fear that Social Security won’t be around when many workers retire in the coming decades has further depressed the confidence of retirees and future retirees. The one-two punch of a depressed stock market and government program insecurity has led to the largest decline in future retirement confidence and thousands of people are left wondering how they will afford to live should their retirement accounts continue to shrink or even disappear.