Retirees cast shadow on investor optimism indexNews added by Benefits Pro on August 7, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Marlene Y. Satter

Talk about a gloomy outlook: retirees are far less optimistic about having enough money to last through retirement, their viewpoint colored by concerns over inflation and economic stagnation.

That turn toward pessimism colored the second-quarter results of the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, which dropped eight points to +29 from the +37 recorded in February. The optimism of retired investors for the earlier period fell by 17 points, from +41 to +24, driving down the index as a whole.

Non-retirees, on the other hand, felt pretty much as they had during the first quarter, with their optimism down only slightly. They clocked in on the quarterly survey at +31, compared with +35 in February.

Although they might not be too thrilled with the economy and investing, survey respondents were unaccountably way more cheerful when confronted with the idea of the American Dream: 84 percent said it was achievable.

Oddly enough, they were this optimistic even though their definitions of the “dream” included affording a home of their own (93 percent), living comfortably in retirement (92 percent) — something retirees were by no means so confident about — and having meaningful employment (92 percent).

One thing they weren’t so sure of was having a standard of living that surpassed that of their parents; only 76 percent included that as part of their definition.

Among non-retired investors, almost nine out of 10 were optimistic about achieving the American Dream. Retired investors, at 77 percent, not so much.

One disconnect between non-retirees and their answers about their ability to achieve the American Dream was the degree of concern over not having saved enough to retire.

Only about a quarter of respondents said they were “not worried at all” about their ability to do that, while 47 percent said they were “extremely” or “somewhat” worried they couldn’t manage enough savings to retire and another 29 percent were “a little worried.”

And 46 percent said they were afraid that what money they have won’t last through retirement, with 19 percent saying they were “extremely worried” about that little detail.

“About half of investors worry about whether they’ll be able to retire, and if they do, whether they’ve saved enough to last through retirement,” said Joe Nadreau, head of innovation and strategy at Wells Fargo Advisors.

“While retirement gives some investors pause, most still view the American Dream optimistically and are taking steps to realize it,” he added.

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