About three-quarters of U.S. workers and retirees believe they will have enough money for retirement, an increase from a year ago, according to a survey released Thursday.
The survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute provides a snapshot of how Americans feel about their retirement prospects.
Among workers, 72% are somewhat or very confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement, up from 63% last March and 69% in January 2020. Today’s level is close to the survey’s record of 74% in 1993, three years after the survey began.
Craig Copeland, a senior research associate at EBRI, said that while people faced considerable uncertainty last March, many have a lot to be optimistic about now, including the growing availability of vaccines, the improving job market and the rising stock market.
Among retirees, 80% are optimistic about their financial prospects during retirement, up from 76% last March. The 82% registered in 2019 is the survey’s highest.
While optimism is up overall, some segments of the population are suffering.
While 21% of workers reported a positive change in their income or job status since Feb. 1, 2020, 39% said their household experienced a negative change.
About one-third of workers, many with lower incomes and higher debt levels, said the pandemic has made it more difficult to save for retirement.
The pandemic made the inequalities even bigger, Mr. Copeland said. “Those who continue to work and save for retirement are doing as well as they were doing before the pandemic,” and those without retirement accounts are more likely to have lost jobs and be “even worse off than before,” he said.
Among workers participating in retirement plans who made changes to their accounts last year, more increased rather than decreased their contributions, the survey indicates.
Nearly 75% of workers report that they or a spouse have saved for retirement. Among workers, 27% said they have less than $25,000 in savings, excluding home equity. One-third say they have amassed $250,000 or more. Married people are more likely to have saved for retirement than single individuals.
This year’s survey of 1,510 retirees and 1,507 workers aged 25 and older was conducted online between Jan. 5 and Jan. 25. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. In general, Mr. Copeland said, it is typical for workers to be less confident than retirees because those who are further from retirement face greater uncertainty.
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