Study Shows Americans Have Reduced Retirement Expectations

Recent research by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project shows many Americans have reduced expectations about retirement and providing for their children’s futures. Most Americans are concerned the recovery of their finances and home values will take several years. During the 30 months since the Great Recession began, 55 percent of adults have reported experiencing work-related issues such as pay cuts, reduced hours, unpaid leaves, and forced part-time.

Around half of the American public, at 48 percent, felt they were in worse financial condition than before the recession began. Of the groups who felt they were in worse shape were those with average yearly salaries below $50,000 and those in late middle-age from 50- to 64-years old. The average American household wealth has fallen by about 20 percent, primarily due to declining home values and retirement funds. The Pew Research Center dubbed this the “biggest meltdown in United States household wealth of the post-World War II era.”

The research also revealed, through a survey of 2,967 adults via cellular and landline telephones from May 11 to May 31, 2010, about a third of Americans, or 32 percent, are no longer confident they will have enough assets or income to retire on time. However, this number is up from 25 percent in February 2009. Americans age 62 and older who are still working blame the recession for their delayed retirement. Six out of ten Americans in their 50s say they will probably be forced to delay retirement as well, once the time comes.

Almost half of American homeowners, around 48 percent, say the value of their home has decreased during the past 30 months. Forty-seven percent of those homeowners feel it will take at least three to five years for the value of their home to recover these losses and 39 percent felt it would take even longer – at least six to 10 years.

While most Americans, 54 percenet, felt the economy was still in a state of recession, 41 percent felt the economy was starting to rebound. More than six out of ten Americans, at 62 percent say they have cut back on their spending since December 2007, when the recession began. Asked to predict their spending patterns when the economy finally recovers, a majority of Americans say they expect to spend around the same amount as they did before the recession began.

To read the full report and survey methodology, visit

Written by Kelly Mellott

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