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77% of Americans Doubtful About Affordable Retirement

At about half the strength of the 2010 poll, the 2011 Unretirement Index shows that only 23% of working Americans are “very confident”  that they will be able to live comfortably after retiring. Additionally, one in five Americans believe they will never completely retire.

President of Sun Life Financial U.S. (the company that produces the Unretirement Index) Wes Thompson said, “This represents the most significant drop in retirement confidence we’ve seen in the four years we’ve compiled the Sun Life Unretirement Index. Although the recession officially ended in 2009, average Americans feel that the downturn has not ended for them, which is substantially eroding their trust in their retirement future.”

The following are the changes for individual categories of the index, as compared to the 2010 results:

  • Employee Benefits: -31.7%
  • Economy: -25%
  • Government Benefits: -21.6%
  • Personal Finances: -13.9%
  • Personal Health: -13.2%

In 2010, both personal health and employee benefits confidence rose, so it is apparent that a major shift has occurred. Of the 54% of Americans who believe they will work past age 65, more people (16%) plan to retire around age 70 than are expecting to retire between 66 and 69 (11%).

The Unretirement Index, which was initiated by Sun Life in 2008, polled 1,499 people between the ages of 18 and 66 this year. The index operates on a score of 0 to 100, where 100 indicates the highest confidence. This year the overall index was 36, the lowest it has been since inception. In 2010 and 2009 it held at 44, and in the first year the score was 46.

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