Seniors Losing Sleep Over Financial Worries

Survey accesses the potential upsides of a down economy.

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Nagging doubts about personal finances keep many seniors awake at night. A recent survey found that 53 percent of adults age 60 and older say current economic conditions are worse than any they have ever experienced before.

"While there have been serious economic downturns in the past, it is clear that this group of people over 60 feel particularly vulnerable during this time of their lives," says Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

The Harris Interactive and MetLife Mature Market Institute online survey of 538 adults asked, "Which of the following aspects of the future keeps you up at night?" The responses:

Running out of money 47 percent
America's loss of prestige on world stage 35 percent
Terrorism 27 percent
Having to make too many lifestyle changes 25 percent
Global warming 24 percent
None of these 24 percent
Having enough money to retire 16 percent

But many seniors also see a potential upside to tighter times, in that they are now more conscious of their sources of income and expenses. "It is apparent from this data that as a result of a volatile economy, many older Americans better understand the importance of guaranteed income," says Timmermann.

The survey asked, "Which of the following aspects of the current economic situation has affected you most positively?" Seniors said:

More conscious of expenses 40 percent
Greater appreciation of Social Security 19 percent
Less driving 15 percent
Greater appreciation of employee benefits 6 percent
More quality time at home 4 percent
Other 2 percent
None 14 percent

Are retirement worries keeping you awake at night?