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Boomers Face a Savings Deficit

They fret over money but feel younger than they are, AARP retirement poll shows

Respondents were split fairly evenly between those who said they "can't wait" to retire (43 percent) and those who said they "won't want" to stop working when they hit retirement age (41 percent).

But in sum, an overwhelming majority (81 percent) of boomers said that after retirement they expect to do at least some work, whether out of need for the money or for interest and enjoyment.

A majority of boomers also said that in retirement they expect to:

  • be healthier than most other people their age.
  • live with a spouse or partner.
  • not become dependent on their children.
  • reside near at least one of their kids.

A majority say retirement will allow them to spend more time with family, to pursue hobbies and leisure activities. Just under half, 49 percent, see retirement as a chance to do the kind of traveling that they were unable to do when they were younger.

For 30 percent of respondents, however, retirement means economic hardship (up from 22 percent who said the same in 1998). Forty-two percent foresee having to scale back their lifestyles, while 28 percent see retirement as the end of their productive years; 20 percent say it will mean boredom.

Twenty-eight percent expect to rely on Social Security for all or most of their retirement income, up from 17 percent in the 2003 poll. And as the generation ages, approval of Medicare goes up: in 1998, 61 percent had a somewhat or very favorable view of the medical insurance program, compared with 69 percent in this year's poll.

In the poll, retirees were asked to provide advice to people in their 40s and 50s. The suggestions included:

  • Save as much as you can.
  • Plan ahead financially.
  • Stay on the job.
  • Take care of your health.
  • Retire as soon as you are financially able.
  • Learn to enjoy life more.

You may also like: Money-saving tips for retirees. >>

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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