Most Workers Not Touching Retirement Savings

Nine in 10 U.S. workers in their employer retirement plan have not tapped into their nest egg despite the economic downturn, and 11% are actually upping their deferral amount.

The quarterly Principal Financial Well-Being Index data showed 90% of respondents in a workplace plan have not decreased their contribution, taken out a loan or hardship withdrawal, or stopped contributing entirely.

A press release said 54% of retirees compared with last quarter (52%) could cover more than six months of living expenses with their emergency fund. Fifty-six percent of workers (up from 50% last quarter) and 69% of retirees (up from 67% last quarter) have an emergency fund.

Not surprisingly, the Principal poll also picked up an increase in job-security apprehension:

Forty-one percent of workers are concerned their company will reduce its number of employees in the next year (up from 25% last year).

Ten percent of workers are concerned their company will go out of business in the next year (up from 6% last year);

Less than half of workers (44%) said they have no concerns about the future of their company (down from 53% last year);

Thirty-six percent of workers indicated they are considering taking on a second job to make ends meet during the economic slowdown and rising costs.

“The findings paint the real story of how Main Street America is reacting to this uncertain economy,” said Dan Houston, president of Retirement and Investor Services at the Principal Financial Group, in the news release. “At times like these, cooler heads prevail.”
Spending Cutbacks

The survey indicates that Americans continue to reduce spending because of current economic conditions. Two-thirds of workers and nearly six out of 10 retirees (59%) said they have reduced their overall spending during the past two months.

Among workers and retirees who said they are on a monthly budget, more than six out of 10 (64% and 63%, respectively) made adjustments because of fear over the economy, job stability, or rising prices.

The Index surveys both American workers at growing businesses with 10 to 1,000 employees and retired Americans. It was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between October 22 and October 29, among 1,179 employees and 625 retirees.