The Employment Benefit Research Institute's study found the percentage of working households that have saved for retirement dropped to 69 percent in 2010, down from 75 percent a year ago. The number of workers and/or their spouses currently setting aside money for retirement dropped to 60 percent from 65 percent in 2009.
But the truly eye-opening numbers in the 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey are the percentage of Americans with little or no savings set aside for retirement - 27 percent report having less than $1,000 in savings, 43 percent say they have less than $10,000 set aside, and more than half (54 percent) have less than $25,000 saved.
It's no surprise, then, that U.S. workers are pushing back the retirement goal line. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) report delaying their retirement in the last year, with most of those reporting an economic or finance-related reason. And 33 percent of workers expect to retire after age 65, triple the number back in 1991.
"Americans' attitudes toward retirement have clearly tracked the economy the last couple of years, and that seems to be the case in 2010," Jack VanDerhei, EBRI's research director, said in a statement.
In all, just 16 percent of workers feel very confident they'll have financial security in retirement, which is near the survey's 20-year low. Among current retirees, 19 percent report feeling very confident in their financial situation.
Ignorance about how much money it will take for a comfortable retirement underlies these numbers. Less than half of American workers (46 percent) have calculated what their financial goals for retirement should be.
The survey, conducted with market research firm Mathew Greenwald and Associates, consisted of phone interviews with 1,153 Americans 25 or older.