The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies has examined retirement attitudes and trends every year since 1998. Its 2013 survey was released this summer. Some highlights:
• Retirement confidence is on the rise; 55 percent of workers are “somewhat” or “very confident” about retirement, which represents an increase over the past several years, but it’s still below the 2007 confidence level of 59 percent.
• The majority of workers with household incomes less than $100,000 said they would switch to an identical job at a similar employer who offered better retirement benefits.
• Seventeen percent of retirement plan participants have taken out a loan from their plans; most frequently to pay off debt, followed by paying for an emergency or major expense.
• Nearly 3 in 5 workers say they have a retirement strategy − but only about 12 percent have written plans.
• Nearly 4 in 10 workers expect their standard of living to decrease in retirement and another 4 in 10 expect it to stay the same.
• Only 10 percent of workers expect to receive support from other family members while in retirement.
• Most workers discuss retirement with family and friends either “occasionally” or “never.”
• Workers without retirement benefits are more likely to be women, have a high school or less education, be single, and employed by smaller companies in service and or sales.
• Men and women both expect to rely on 401(k) plans/IRAs as their primary source of income during retirement. Men are more likely to rely on this source. Women are more likely to expect to rely on Social Security.
• Despite difficult economic conditions, the majority of workers still expect to leave an inheritance − to their children or spouse/partner.