Americans anxious about their retirement savings

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

Most Americans who are not yet retired have difficulty juggling savings for retirement and paying their bills, and 64 percent are anxious about the amount of retirement savings they currently have.

Still, 55 percent think they will ultimately be financially ready to retire when they want to; 41 percent do not think they will.

Saving for retirement ranks second as the financial matter that worries Americans most, right behind paying bills and keeping up with expenses. Among Americans who are not retired, 27 percent worry most about paying bills and expenses, followed by saving for retirement (22 percent), then paying off debt (18 percent), and paying for education (16 percent). Paying for medical costs is at the bottom of the list, with only eight percent putting that at the top of their financial concerns.

Most find balancing these two financial matters difficult. Seventy-one percent of Americans who are not yet retired say it is hard to keep up with their bills and save for retirement at the same time, including about four in 10 who describe it as very hard. Among Americans with lower incomes--those making under $50,000 a year--78 percent percent are finding it especially difficult to save for their retirement while at the same time keeping up with their bills.

When evaluating their current retirement savings, most Americans are not confident they are saving enough now to live adequately by the time retirement comes. Here too, those with lower incomes express less confidence--two-thirds of Americans with incomes below $50,000 a year are not confident they are saving enough for retirement. And even among those Americans at the highest end of the income spectrum, who make over $100,000 a year, only 24 percent are "very confident" they're saving enough for retirement. Americans making $50,000-$100,000 a year are split--half of them are confident they will have enough to retire on.

Moreover, only about a third of Americans who are not retired feel secure when they think about the amount of retirement savings they have; 64 percent feel mostly anxious about it. More lower income Americans feel anxious about their retirement saving than those with higher incomes.

Ultimately, 55 percent of Americans not yet retired say they will be financially ready to retire when they want to, while 41 percent don't think they'll be ready.

Those who are older (and may be closer to retirement) are less confident than younger Americans they'll be financially prepared to retire. And differences between men and women are pronounced, with 63 percent of men saying they'll be financial ready to retire when they want to, while just 46 percent of women think that.

Retirement may be coming later for many. Fewer than half of Americans (46 percent) expect to retire at age 65 or younger--that's a drop of 21 points from a decade ago when two-thirds expected to retire by age 65. Twenty-eight percent now think they will retire when they are in their 70s; that figure has more than tripled since 2005.

This is in sharp contrast to Americans who have already retired. Eighty-two percent of retirees say they retired by the age of 65.

Social Security and Other Savings

Among Americans who are not retired, most do not expect the Social Security system to have the money available to provide the benefits they expect. Only 32 percent believe Social Security will have the benefits they expect for retirement.

More than half of Americans have begun to compensate for their lowered expectations about Social Security. 56 percent have begun to save money or establish a savings program for retirement other than Social Security, but 43 percent of Americans have not done that.

While majorities of those with household incomes of $50,000 or higher have retirement savings other than Social Security, 59 percent of those earning less do not. Among those who make over $100,000 a year, 84 percent hold other retirement savings.

Retirees

Americans who have yet to retire may not expect Social Security to have the benefits needed for their retirement, but most of those who are already retired rely on Social Security as their major source of income. This is especially true for lower income retirees. Higher income retirees are more likely to rely on sources other than Social Security.

Six in 10 retirees say their income is enough for them to live on adequately, while 38 percent say it is not. Those relying on Social Security as their main income source are less likely to say their income is enough to live on.

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This poll was conducted by telephone September 24-28, 2014 among 1,001 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error due to sampling for Americans not yet retired could be plus or minus four percentage points. The error due to sampling for Americans already retired could be plus or minus five percentage points. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.