By Gail MarksJarvis
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to columnist Gail MarkJarvis financial stress is hitting people hardest in their mid-40s when they start to realize that they are aging and haven’t come up with the savings they thought would materialize as they got older.
People who are already deep into retirement worry the least, according to EBRI research.
Meet the worriers, the people who are afraid they won’t ever be able to retire or that they will run out of money too early in retirement.
Three out of 10 say they are so stressed out they even think about it at work, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a research organization that has been examining for years how prepared Americans are for retirement.
The findings show people have calmed down since the Great Recession, when a broad swath of Americans were horrified as they lost jobs and as the stock market crashed and destroyed a significant portion of the savings they’d worked hard to accumulate.
Now, most are back at work, home values are recovering and the stock market has been kind to anyone with money in a 401(k). Measures of consumer confidence show Americans having a bright view of their future.
Yet, while people generally are feeling optimistic now about their jobs and putting food on the table, the optimism wanes for many when they ponder whether they will be OK in retirement. According to the EBRI study, only 18 percent are very confident they will have the savings they need for a comfortable retirement.
About a third of people aren’t confident they will be able to cover basic living expenses in retirement. Paying for doctors, hospitals, medicine and other medical care is also a major concern. About 45 percent of Americans aren’t confident they will be able to cover their medical expenses once they’re retired. If they think ahead about the possibility of a long illness or injury that would leave them unable to care for themselves without help in their homes, 57 percent get worried.