With the economy on the rebound and the stock market on a roll, many Americans are feeling better about their financial future.
A new study by Ameriprise Financial found that significantly more people believe they're on track for retirement now than last year. Two in five people surveyed (42 percent) expressed confidence that they are financially prepared, compared with only 37 percent last year.
Findings of the survey of 10,000 adults (ages 40 to 75) in 30 major metropolitan areas included:
- 19 percent said they feel very prepared financially for retirement or the remainder of their retirement.
- 28 percent feel very confident that they will reach their retirement goals or that the remainder of their retirement will work out as planned.
"Feeling confident about retirement is essential, but perhaps not as important as taking steps to financially prepare for that retirement," said Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial.
Some of the numbers from the New Retirement Mindscape report don't seem to justify respondents' optimism, and de Baca warns that it may be unwarranted "and cause a dangerous feeling of complacency."
The survey found that fewer people are taking the steps necessary to save for this milestone as compared with last year.
- While 72 percent said they had done something to prepare for retirement, that number is slightly smaller than in 2011 and 2010.
- Only about half (49 percent) said their retirement balances have recovered from the market downturn in 2008-09.
- Only about one in four (23 percent) has calculated how much he or she will need to save for retirement. That's significantly higher than past years but still dismally low.
"If three-quarters of the people feel they're on track, but only a quarter of them have done any math, then that causes me some concern," said Andrea Singleton, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise in Seattle.
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"How do they come to that conclusion?" she asked. "They can't all be planning to win the lottery. They can't all be inheriting large sums of money from mom and dad."