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Boomers Face a Savings Deficit

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

Under pressure from a faltering economy, falling property values and vanishing pensions, boomers are increasingly worried about their ability to prepare for the future, according to an AARP poll released Thursday.

See also: Boomers turning 65.

Boomer couple in armchairs split between work and retirement

Boomers are finding it difficult to save for retirement. — Cultura/Getty Images

 Working boomers are growing dissatisfied with the amount of money they're socking away for retirement, the poll found, and many are less certain today that they'll be able to live comfortably during those later years.

"As boomers approach retirement, they have become less confident about financing their retirement through their own savings or pensions and are more likely to expect to rely on Social Security," says Robert Prisuta, AARP's research director.

"The recession and financial meltdown have played a role in this pessimism, since attitudes were fairly stable between 1998 and 2003 but have turned more negative this year," Prisuta says.

But when it comes to lifestyle issues, the generation that praised peace, love and flower power isn't feeling senior. Though the oldest of the boomers turn 65 this year, the majority of respondents said they feel seven years younger than they are. And a majority concede that their generation is more self-indulgent than their parents' generation was.

The report, "Baby Boomers Envision What's Next," was based on a poll in February and March of 1,200 adults ages 46 to 65. The research firm GfK Roper headed up the study, with findings being compared with results from similar polls in 2003 and 1998.

In the new poll, 49 percent say they find it difficult to save for retirement, an increase from 45 percent in 2003 and 47 percent in 1998. Likewise, fewer people say they're confident they can save enough for the future — 53 percent this year compared with 61 percent in each of those earlier polls.

Financial planners call this change particularly worrisome among people who have just five to 15 years to retirement. Indeed, it takes decades of disciplined saving to accumulate enough to fund 20 or 30 years of retirement living, or more.

Next: What do boomers expect to do in retirement? >>

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