What Keeps Retirement Savers Awake at Night

Americans say they are losing sleep due to retirement worries

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Employees and retirees both say they’re losing sleep due to retirement worries. Inflation is the concern that keeps the most retirees (37 percent) from getting their rest. But apprehension about simply being able to afford basic necessities is disturbing the slumber of 44 percent of workers and 30 percent of retirees, according to a recent Harris Interactive and Principal Financial Group online survey of 1147 small and mid-sized business employees and 558 retirees age 60 and over.

Given the near constant debate about healthcare, it comes as no surprise that healthcare costs are disquieting 40 percent of workers and 32 percent of retirees. Other issues retirees say are keeping them awake at night include outliving their savings (35 percent), being able to enjoy the same quality of life as before retirement (31 percent), paying for assisted living or long-term care (27 percent), and being able to afford vacations or to visit grandchildren (18 percent).

Yet, Americans are taking steps to put some of their financial worries to bed. Over half of retirees (56 percent) and employees (59 percent) say they have reduced their spending in the past 2 months. And slightly more than a quarter of retirees (26 percent) have shifted their nest egg into less volatile investments. Some workers (16 percent) have even increased the amount they are saving towards retirement in the past 6 months.

Perhaps because of these frugal behaviors, some employees are beginning to feel slightly more optimistic about retirement than they did a few months ago. The percentage of employees who say their retirement account balance is the same or higher than it was in January 2008 has doubled from 9 percent last quarter to 18 percent. And now 16 percent of workers think it will take less than two years to recoup their stock market losses, up from 11 percent in the second quarter. Only 2 percent of employees currently say their nest egg will never recover 2008’s losses.

Tell us, are retirement worries keeping you awake at night?