Americans facing a retirement crisis

Let’s face it: we all want to be a lazy bones (as the old Hoagy Carmichael song goes) in retirement. Unfortunately, in today’s difficult economy, that seems to be an impossible feat to achieve for many.

The latest annual Gallup Economy and Personal Finance poll has confirmed that Americans are facing a retirement crisis because they will be unable to afford medical costs, pay off their debts and maintain their current cost of living. For millions of Americans, their golden years will turn out to be a nightmare.

Publishing the results Tuesday, Gallup found that a majority of respondents are worried about their retirement. The study highlighted the various concerns that Americans face in their winter years, including:

–          59 percent worried about not having enough money for retirement

–          53 percent worried about not being able to pay for medical costs in case of serious illness or accident

–          48 percent worried about not being able to keep up with the cost of living

–          40 percent worried about not paying off current debt loads

–          36 percent worried about not paying monthly bills

–          31 percent worried about not paying rent, mortgage and/or other housing costs

–          16 percent worried about not paying the minimum payments on credit cards

“Retirement may be a time that many working adults look forward to, but it is paradoxically a source of stress in the here and now,” Gallup wrote in its bottom line. “A strong majority of Americans, particularly those aged 30 to 64, worry about having enough money for retirement, and this concern has regularly topped the list of Americans’ top financial problems. The only other personal financial concern that a majority of Americans are very or moderately worried about is the ability to pay medical costs in the event of a serious accident or illness.”

It has been widely reported that those who are on the verge of retirement have decided to delay their plans in order to work more which would permit them to save more money and make back the losses they incurred during the economic collapse.

For youth today, any future retirement dreams could be very difficult to attain. Past studies have found that many people have given up the entire concept of retirement. With a very low savings rate of four percent, a lack of employment opportunities and stagnant wages, the youth today could never appear to live a retirement akin to previous generations.

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