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Survey More boomers forced to delay retirement

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SAN FRANCISCO (10/8/08)--A survey released last week revealed that more than half (55%) of baby boomers believe they’ll have to delay retirement by five or more years as a result of the economic crisis. Almost half (46%) of boomers report losses of 10% to 20% in their retirement accounts (MarketWatch.com Oct. 2). More than 450 members of Eons.com, an online community for baby boomers, participated in the survey between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2. Asked about the market crisis and how it’s affecting their retirement plans, respondents said the situation is the worst economic crisis in recent history. Thirty-four percent of respondents don’t expect to see a full recovery in their retirement accounts for at least five years, and 63% believe the blame for the economic downturn is shared by Wall Street, the federal government, irresponsible lending by banks, and individuals who bought houses they couldn’t afford. Even before the recent financial crisis, financial planners and counselors were discouraged by workers’ lack of planning and saving. A study released in April by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, D.C., revealed that 60% of workers age 55 and older have less than $100,000 saved for their later years (The Wall Street Journal Sept. 22). What’s a preretiree to do? One option that both preretirees and recent retirees are exploring is to work longer. Spending more time on the job gives you more time to build up your 401(k) balance. More months and years of wages, in turn, yield a bigger benefit from Social Security and decrease the time you have to depend on overall savings. And working longer is something you can control--unlike the stock market. For more information, read “Retired and Returning to Work” and “Can You Count on Social Security?” in Plan It: Retire Ready Toolkit.