Low Interest Rates Delay Retirement

Record low rates on savings accounts and CDs are hampering the plans of would-be retirees, according to a survey by Wells Fargo/Gallup.

In its Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey, one in three investors said low rates will cause them to delay retirement.

"Forty-five percent of non-retired Americans and 34 percent of retirees fear that current low interest rates may cause them to 'outlive' their money in retirement," Wells Fargo said in a statement today.

Some 26 percent of non-retired people and 19 percent of retirees said low interest rates will cause them to put money in investments they "might have avoided." And, one in three investors in the survey said low interest rates are likely to lead to a sharp increase in inflation in the years ahead.

"A year ago, retired investors were three times as optimistic as working Americans and now retirees are less optimistic, which may be attributed to how challenging it is to have any kind of growth in savings. Our questions on interest rates show the impact low rates are having - they are challenging for retirement nest eggs, particularly when core inflation rate growth is about 3 percent a year and CD rates are yielding less than 1 percent. Some people may feel like they're pushing mud up hill," said Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo.

Rates have fallen to records lows because the Federal Reserve is keeping the discount rate near zero, trying to buoy the economy, which is only slowly recovering from the financial meltdown and mortgage collapse that began in 2007. Rates on 6-month CDs fell to below 1 percent in 2009 and are now at a record low of 0.42 percent.