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Pensions & Retirement Security 2013: A Roadmap for Policy Makers Print E-mail

2013_opinioncoverNew public opinion research finds that Americans remain highly anxious about their retirement prospects (85 percent) and would participate in a new pension system to help rebuild the road to retirement.

Download the full study here.
Read the press release here.

View selected charts and other materials here.
View the webinar replay here.

Read The Washington Post coverage of the study here.

The key research findings are as follows:

  • Americans remain highly anxious about their retirement outlook despite stabilization of the financial markets, declining unemployment and increased consumer confidence. An overwhelming majority of Americans (85 percent) continues to report concern about their retirement prospects, with more than half (55 percent) very concerned.
  • Americans are highly supportive of pensions and see these plans as a way to improve retirement readiness. Some 83 percent of Americans report favorable views of pensions, and 82 percent say those with pensions are more likely to have a secure retirement. Moreover, 84 percent indicate that all Americans should have access to a pension to be self-sufficient in retirement.
  • Americans feel that leaders in Washington do not understand their struggles to save for retirement. Americans overwhelmingly would support Congressional action to provide all Americans with access to a new type of privately run pension plan. More than 90 percent would favor a new pension plan that is available to all Americans, is portable from job to job, and provides a monthly check throughout retirement for those who contribute.
  • When looking across generations, Millennials are highly cognizant of the broken retirement infrastructure and are highly dissatisfied with the state of retirement and policymakers. Even though retirement is in the distant future, virtually all Millennials agree that the retirement system is under stress and needs repair (95 percent), and that lawmakers need to make retirement a higher priority (90 percent). Millennials are especially supportive of a new pension system (84 percent), with 88 percent saying they would consider participating.
  • Protecting Social Security benefits remains important. Some 67 percent of Americans say it is a mistake to cut government spending in such a way as to reduce Social Security benefits for current retirees.
  • Americans support pension benefits for public employees because these workers contribute to the costs, and because some segments of the public workforce have high-risk jobs and lower pay. Nearly three quarters of Americans (73 percent) support these pensions because public employees contribute from every paycheck to their pension. For police and firefighters, 86 percent of Americans say these employees deserve pensions given their job risks. And for teachers, 72 percent of Americans indicate pensions are deserved to compensate for low pay.
  • Americans seem to understand there is an economic imperative for ensuring Americans have pensions and sufficient income to retire. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 87 percent, say that the increasing number of Baby Boomers retiring without pensions and/or inadequate savings is straining families and the economy.