American Workers Losing Confidence in Retirement

In Sun Life Financial’s latest Unretirement Index, one in five working Americans say they will never retire.

Less than a quarter (23%) of working Americans feel very confident that they will meet basic living expenses in retirement, plunging from double that number (42%) last year.  

Confidence in the future of Social Security has substantially decreased over the last four years as well, to 9% in 2011, from 22% in 2008.  The same pattern holds true about Medicare benefits; confidence falling to 8% in 2011, from 20% in 2008.   

On the positive side, respondents at all wealth levels who are planning to receive guaranteed lifetime income from annuities by age 67, or who own long-term care insurance products, feel significantly more confident about retirement.   

The Unretirement Index is scored on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 reflecting highest confidence about retirement. The Index score dropped from near the midrange (44) in September 2010 toward the bottom third of the scale (36) in September 2011, down 18.2%.   

The overall Index is a composite score based on five subject areas, which all revealed declines in confidence compared to last year. On a year-to-year basis, confidence dropped as follows in the following subject areas: employee benefits (-31.7%), the economy (-25%), government benefits (-21.6%), personal finances (-13.9%), and personal health (-13.2%).   

The results were based on a sample of 1,499 people working full-time, part-time, or in job transition, which was representative of the U.S. working population between the ages of 18 and 66.  

The full report is at