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Retirement Plans

EBRI: Retirement confidence on the rise

More retirees are confident about their financial situations this year compared with last year, as 82% expect to have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement, up from 75% in 2018, according to the 29th annual Retirement Confidence Survey released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates.

Moreover, 77% of retirees said they're confident they'll be able to afford the lifestyle they are accustomed to, up from 70% in 2018.

For workers, the survey found that 67% feel confident in their ability to retire comfortably, with 23% feeling very confident, a 6-percentage-point increase over 2018. Though comparable to highs last seen from 1997 through 2006 and in 2015 and 2016, workers who are very confident in 2019 still falls short of the 27% peak measured in 2007, according to the survey.

On a conference call Tuesday, Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and co-author of the report, said confidence typically rises when the economy is strong. He also noted the correlation between having a retirement plan and feeling confident about retirement. Workers reporting they or their spouse have money in a defined contribution plan or IRA, or have benefits in a defined benefit plan, are nearly twice as likely to be at least somewhat confident about retirement — 74% with a plan vs. 39% without a plan — according to the survey.

Eight in 10 workers believe their workplace DC plans will be a major or minor source of income in retirement, while 69% expect income in retirement from an IRA, up from 64% in 2018.

Also of note, there is concern about health care in retirement. More than 4 in 10 workers said they're not confident about their ability to cover medical costs and 48% do not feel confident about having enough money for long-term care in retirement, the survey noted.

The 2019 survey features responses from 2,000 Americans — half retirees, half workers — and was conducted in January.