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Worried about retirement savings? You're not alone

by Jim Sloan

If you find yourself obsessing over your retirement savings accounts and investments, you're not alone.

A recent Gallup Poll found that retirement savings are the top-rated financial concern for Americans--higher than more immediate concerns such as paying for a child's college, making a minimum credit card payment or coming up with the money to pay monthly bills or a mortgage.

Gallup has been conducting an annual survey of Americans' economic concerns for 10 years, and the just-completed poll showed that 66 percent of us are worried about not having enough money saved for retirement. That number is higher than the 53 percent who had this worry in 2001, and the poll found that the worries reach across economic boundaries; 69 percent of those making less than $30,000 a year are worried about retirement savings accounts and 68 percent of those making more than $75,000 are worried.

Concerns about medical costs, standard of living

Here are some other findings from the survey:

  • 60 percent of those surveyed--the second-highest percentage--said they are worried about not being able to pay medical costs for a serious illness.
  • 58 percent said they were worried about not being able to maintain their standard of living.
  • Nearly half--48 percent--said they are worried they won't have enough to pay medical costs for normal health care.
  • The lowest percentage--24 percent--were worried about not being able to make the minimum payments on their credit cards.

Trend in fear

During the last decade, retirement, health care costs and standard of living have consistently been the top-three worries in Gallup polls. The percentage of people who are very or moderately worried has gone up significantly since 2001 in all three categories, Gallup said, and consumers' fears have inched up in all areas during the recent recession.

Retirement savings accounts

Gallup noted that the recent recession hammered many Americans' retirement savings accounts and investments. Having enough in their retirement savings accounts has led the list of concerns from the beginning, but the percentage of those worried about it has jumped since 2008.

Surprisingly, the greatest concern is among those between 30 and 49 years old. In that group, 77 percent are worked up about not having enough in their savings accounts, and investments to pay for retirement. Among those between 50 and 64 years old, 70 percent are worried that they haven't set aside enough to pay for a comfortable retirement. Those older than 64 are the least worried, with only 45 percent saying they are concerned.

Those aged 30 to 49 increasingly believe they won't have Social Security benefits by the time they retire and will have to rely exclusively on their personal savings accounts.

The percentage of Americans worried about maintaining their standard of living--58 percent--reached a new high after skyrocketing during the recession. Just three years ago, only 41 percent were worried about maintaining their standard of living.

Disclaimer:This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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