The 11th quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll found that near-retiree baby boomers have pushed back initial plans to retire at age 60, to 66. Additionally, 68% of baby boomers expect to work in some form after retirement, the survey of 1,200 Americans found. Only 11% of current retirees currently work.

“The impact of the recession on the middle class is larger than past recessions,” says Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Not only is long-term unemployment at record levels, but baby boomers now say they will have to retire six years later than previous retirees. Sandwiched between the happily retired and the optimistic young, these near-retirees feel the pain of their declining home values and retirement savings and expect to work until 66 years of age.”

The poll also found that 68% of retirees rely on Social Security as a major source of income, and 62% of near-retirees expect it will be. Fifty-two percent of retirees have a pension, and only 37% of near-retirees have one. Although only 8% of retirees work out of necessity, 34% of near-retirees expect they will be forced to take a job in order to get by.

A mere 16% of current retirees have 401(k) savings as a major part of their retirement portfolio, compared to 39% of near-retirees.

The survey also asked respondents about their opinion on the American economy and leadership; 70% said the national is “seriously off on the wrong track.”

On the plus side, 56% believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, up from 50% who shared this enthusiasm in October.

Seventy-nine percent of retirees are confident about their retirement security, including 33% who are very confident, but that level of confidence drops to 67% among near-retirees.

“For those approaching retirement, the sense of security expressed by many of today’s retired seniors looks like a ship that is sailing beyond reach,” says Ronald Brownstein, editorial director of National Journal Group. “Many near-retiree families have been paddling so hard to stay above the waves of the Great Recession that they have difficultly imagining a time when they can confidently lay down their oars.”

Barney writes for Money Management Executive, a Source Media publication.

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