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Friday focus: Personal finance

Fri., May 1, 2009

A record-low 13 percent of workers this year say they are confident about having enough savings to retire on comfortably, according to the 19th Annual Retirement Confidence Survey released earlier this month by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

It’s not a big drop from the 18 percent who were confident last year, but it is at its lowest point since tracking began in 1993 and it is 50 percent lower since 2007, the institute reported.

In the report, only 25 percent of those surveyed said they are saving more money. Only 25 percent said they are seeking professional help on how to recover.

The report also found that only 44 percent of workers have taken the time to calculate how much they need in retirement.

And 72 percent of workers have not adjusted the percentage of their salary that goes into an employer retirement plan, the survey found.

Recession hitting teens: The economy’s impact is affecting teens on many fronts.

According to a financial survey of U.S. students ages 12-17 by Junior Achievement and the Allstate Foundation in February, 12 percent had been asked to help with the family budget, 15 percent had curtailed extracurricular activities, and nearly half (49 percent) said their parents had discussed family finances.

Just this week, the Chicago public schools system announced that personal finance instruction will be taught in all of the city’s 116 public high schools, starting this fall. In California, statewide efforts are a little slower, partly due to the state’s budget crisis.

Only Missouri, Tennessee and Utah require high schoolers to have a semester of personal finance, according to the Jumpstart Coalition, a national group that promotes youth financial literacy. Other states require a semester of economics, but not necessarily tied to money skills.



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