Boomers Losing Confidence but Staying Optimistic

While only three in 10 of polled Boomers are working with a financial professional, those who are show more optimism about their finances.

The recent Wall Street turmoil appears to have made a significant impact on some Americans’ confidence that they can get through retirement with money still in the bank. A Thrivent Financial for Lutherans news release about its recent survey said 58% of respondents were at least somewhat doubtful their financial nest egg will be big enough. Not only that, according to the news release, but 62% are either not confident that they have the proper financial strategy in place (22%) or are unsure of their current financial strategy (40%).

Yet many Boomers may not have specific financial strategies in place to reach their goals. Just three in 10 surveyed (29%) report working with a professional financial representative to help them with their finances. However, those working with a professional were more likely to be optimistic about their long-term financial health than those working alone (70% versus 55%).

More than half of all Boomers (54%) polled said they expect they will have to delay their retirements as a result of the market volatility. One in four (24%) respondents reported altering their retirement plans.

Even with that said, the news release indicated, three in five Baby Boomers (60%) responded that they are optimistic about their personal long-term financial well-being. Nearly half (45%) of Boomers with incomes of less than $25,000 expressed optimism about their long-term financial futures, while 61% of those earning $25,000 to $49,999 said they had rosy thoughts about their finances.

“Optimism and pessimism about retirement finances seem to have gained equal footing within the psyche of Boomers,” said Jane Zilch, vice president of distribution strategy programs for Thrivent Financial, in the news release. “Despite the urge to hit the panic button, Boomers need to remember that their retirement will last longer than that of their parents. Protect yourself now, but don’t lose sight of longer-term goals. “

While most are not losing sleep, Boomers reported they were finding ways to deal with their financial stress. The most common financial stress reliever among Boomers was spending quality time with one’s family (46%). Other financial stress relievers included stuffing oneself with comfort food (11%), stocking up on antacids (6%), and going shopping (6%).

Data for this survey were collected via eNation online interviews by Synovate. Interviewing took place between October 20 to 23 among a nationwide cross section of 947 U.S. adults age 45 to 64.