Poll: Americans Worried About Retirement


A recent report found there is at least one item Republicans and Democrats can agree on: A deep concern for economic security in retirement.

According to the report, 78% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans are concerned about their ability to achieve a secure retirement. Some 88% of Americans agree that the nation faces a retirement crisis.

These findings are contained in the study Retirement Security 2017: Americans' View of the Retirement Crisis and Solutions,” published by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) and based on a poll of 800 Americans age 25 or older conducted by Greenwald & Associates. The data was balanced to reflect the demographics of the United States for age, gender and income.

"Our poll finds that 77% of Americans say that the disappearance of pensions is killing the American dream, and they are strongly opposed to cutting Social Security for current and future retirees,” said Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director. “If the new Congress and Administration are serious about addressing Americans’ economic anxiety, a bold first step would be to make a long-term fix to private sector pension funding rules and to strengthen Social Security."

The study also found Americans:

  • Strongly support pensions for public sector workers and see these retirement plans as a strong recruitment and retention tool. Americans strongly support pensions for police officers and firefighters (90%), as well as for teachers (81%). Some 81% say these benefits are deserved because public employees help finance the cost.
  • Regard pensions as a route to economic security in retirement, and see these retirement plans as better than 401(k) accounts. Some 82% of Americans have a favorable view of pensions, and 85% say all workers should have access to a pension plan so they can be independent and self-reliant in retirement. Some 71% of Americans say that pensions do more to help workers achieve a secure retirement as compared to 401(k) plans.
  • Say national leaders still don’t understand their retirement struggle, and they remain highly supportive of state efforts to address the retirement crisis. A majority of Americans (85%) say leaders in Washington do not understand how hard it is to prepare for retirement. Similarly, 86% say leaders in Washington need to make retirement security a higher priority. Respondents believe that state-sponsored retirement savings programs for workers not covered by their employers’ plans are a good idea (75%).
  • Believe protecting Social Security remains important. Some 76% say it is a mistake to cut government spending to reduce Social Security benefits for current retirees, and 73% oppose cutting government spending that reduces Social Security benefits for future generations.

NIRS is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy as a whole. Located in Washington, D.C., NIRS’ diverse membership includes financial services firms, employee benefit plans, trade associations and other retirement service providers.

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