Gallup: Most Feel They Are Powerless to Save for Retirement

Monday, 18 Jun 2012 06:57 AM

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Most American investors feel powerless to save and plan for retirement, a Gallup poll finds.

Fifty-seven percent of investors say they feel they have little or no control over their efforts to build and maintain their retirement savings in the current environment, the polling firm finds.

The figure remains basically unchanged from 58 percent feeling likewise in February, but down from 65 percent in September 2011, when the U.S. debt ceiling debacle nearly threw the country into default.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

Thirty percent say they have quite a lot of control, and 13 percent say they have a great deal of control.

High unemployment rates straining household finances, bloated government deficits, Wall Street volatility and a weak economy in general make retirement planning difficult.

"Even as the May swoon on Wall Street was getting underway and the financial crisis in Europe was becoming more of an issue for the global economy, 57 percent of investors felt they had little or no control over building and maintaining their retirement savings," Gallup says.

"Further, 28 percent said their control over their retirement savings had decreased over the past six months. Little wonder why only 48 percent of investors in the most recent investor poll say now is a good time to invest in the financial markets, compared with 62 percent in February of last year."

Other indices point to waning confidence in the economy.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 74.1 in June from to 79.3 in May, Reuters reports, well below a 77.5 forecast by a Reuters poll of economists.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

"The news has been negative on the economy and you combine that with the escalating problems in Europe and consumers are scared. The decline in the stock market doesn't help. Consumers started the year feeling a little better and they get hit with another storm and that's done a fair amount of damage to their psyche," says Sharon Stark, managing director and fixed-income director at Sterne Agee in Birmingham, Alabama, according to Reuters.

"Household net worth is down. Europe is imploding. Not that Europe really impacts them, but it's hearing this bad news day in and day out. It's on the news every single day."

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.



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