For the last 50 years, baby boomers have clung to their youth, but as they approach retirement many are finding they haven't saved enough to move into old age. A new Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll has found that 89 percent of the 77 million people born between 1946 and 1964 are not strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort in their later years. Just today, 11,000 more boomers turned 60 years old.
Further underscoring the financial squeeze, 44 percent of boomers express little or no faith they will have saved enough money by retirement. One in four said they do not think they will be able to retire – ever.
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Six in ten say their investments, retirement plans, and their home lost significant value in the last 3 years. Of that group, almost half -- 42 percent -- say they're now delaying retirement.
"I worry about an emergency," Nina Scott, 56 years old and a teacher in Boston, told ABC News. "I worry about healthcare, and whether we've tucked away enough to look after each other."
Bickering on the HillThe bickering on Capitol Hill will not help the situation, as politicians face growing pressure to curb the record federal deficit, and budget hawks of both parties have expressed a willingness to scale back Social Security, the government's biggest program.
This is similar to the deficit troubles many European governments are trying to address. For example, the French government passed a law in November that raised the official retirement age by two years, against strong union opposition.
Baby Boomers' Retirement Savings
The new survey shows just how politically risky the same kind of move might be here. Sixty-four percent of the boomers who were polled said they see Social Security as the keystone of their retirement earnings, far outpacing pensions, investments and other income.
The Boomers we spoke to were not expecting to live extravagantly in their retirement, but simply want to be able to spend time with family doing what they love.
John and Jeanette Urbom, who live outside of Kansas City, Kans., said all they wanted was enough money to be able to see their family. John just turned 60. Jeanette is about to.
"That's about all we think about now," John told us. "John wants to teach [his granddaughter] how to fish…we want to be comfortable enough to buy a plane ticket to be out there in a day," said Jeanette.
John had been planning to retire at the age of 61, but he now thinks he will work five more years. They are also thinking of downsizing their home, in order to afford those trips to Denver to visit their granddaughter in their "golden years."
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was conducted from March 4-13 by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif., and involved online interviews with 1,160 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Knowledge Networks used traditional telephone and mail sampling methods to recruit respondents randomly. People selected who had no Internet access were given it free.