Americans Tapped into Savings to Get By during Downturn

A new Hartford Financial Services Group survey found that 27% of Americans have had to take withdrawals from savings, investment, or retirement accounts to get by.


A Hartford news release said another 7% took out a loan from a retirement or bank account, 11% borrowed money from friends or family, and 3% sold their home.

One in four consumers said they have just enough money to meet basic living expenses, according to The Hartford’s survey. More than half of respondents (61%) said they would have to make significant changes to their lifestyle if they were to lose income for three to six months.

Hartford also reported that the poor economy has translated into extra work and stress for Americans. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they have additional work or an increased workload, and 17% said they feel as though they need to put in more hours at work. Almost three-quarters of Americans (72%) feel moderately stressed, with one third feeling “very” or “extremely stressed.”

When asked how stress is impacting their work environment, respondents’ top answer was having less patience with co-workers (38%), followed by taking longer to complete work (19%), and taking work home to finish (19%).

Meanwhile, the poll showed that benefits participation rose in 2010 over the previous year, including an increase of more than 10% in disability insurance. The number of employees with short-term disability insurance rose from 41% in 2009 to 55% in 2010, and the percentage of workers with long-term disability insurance increased from 36% last year to 47% this year.

The Hartford surveyed 1,000 full-time workers in April about the economy’s impact on work and home life.