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The pall over retirement

The economy weighs on retirees and anyone planning for their retirement. It isn't all that surprising considering we've struggled through five years of tough economics times.

The latest snapshot is a 2009 survey by the Society of Actuaries. The survey results show that 66% of retirees and 79% of pre-retirees are now more concerned about their retirement than before the downturn.

Little wonder, too. Some two-thirds of retirees and 77 of pre-retirees say their finances are worse than they were before the downturn. The biannual surveys date from 2001.

Among the highlights of the 2009 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey is how people say they will deal with their worries about a financial shortfall. It largely reflects a DIY mindset: Manage finances better, save more, and work longer were favorite responses, especially among pre-retirees. However, only 23% of retirees want to get back to work or work longer compared to 64% of pre-retirees.

A mere 17% of retirees and 25% of pre-retirees say they will look for more professional advice.

I was also intrigued by where people thought they might cut back on spending--and where they won't. Gifts, eating out, fewer vacations and spending less on outside activities loomed large on the potential chopping block.

I thought it was heartening that few said it was acceptable to cut back on health spending and insurance coverage. But moving in with family and friends? Nah!

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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