A Record Low for Retirement Plans

Mar 19, 2013 8:00am

Morning Business Memo…

Despite an improving economy and a boost for most 401k plans with the recent rise in the stock market, Americans’ confidence in their retirement has fallen to a new low. Nearly 60 percent of workers have less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments, according to today’s report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 13 percent of those surveyed said they were very confident about retirement, while 28 percent said they had no confidence they’ll be able to retire comfortably. That’s the highest level in 23 years of annual reports. In the past five years, the percentage of workers saving for retirement fell from 65 percent to 57 percent. The findings are in line with other surveys that suggest most Americans are saving too little for retirement. Long life expectancies may add to the problem with millions of people living at least 30 years after quitting full-time work.

A bad case of banking blues for many online customers at America’s biggest bank. When JP Morgan Chase account holders logged in their statements claimed their bank balance was zero. “We have a technology problem regarding customers’ balance information that we’re working to resolve,” said a statement by the bank last night. “It has nothing to do with cyber threats…It is an internal issue. We are very sorry to our customers for the inconvenience.” Later the bank said the online issue had been fixed. “We’re back to business as usual.”

Talk about embarrassing… The highly successful yoga and exercise clothing company Lululemon Athletica has taken its black yoga pants off the shelves because the sheer material reveals too much. Lululemon says it is not sure why the pants are so sheer since they haven’t changed the materials used but it is talking to its suppliers. The Canadian company said that it took the pants off its store shelves and website over the weekend. That means there will be a shortage of its black Luon pants and crops for awhile. Lululemon Athletica shares fell nearly 6 percent overnight.

For the first time in weeks the stock market is coming off two straight days of losses. The Dow was down 62 Monday,  but it had been off by over a 100 points earlier in the day with reaction to Cyprus. A proposed tax on all bank depositors on Cyprus sparked fears of a run on banks in some other parts of Europe. Now Cypriot politicians are scrambling to revise their plan. A new proposal slashes the tax on smaller deposits..

Top Federal Reserve officials are meeting today and tomorrow in Washington, and will decide whether to keep interest rates at a record low. Economists expect regulators not to take their foot off the accelerator because even though the U.S. economy is strengthening, home prices are rising and retail sales are up, the 7.7 percent unemployment still isn’t low enough.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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