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Americans Worry About Retirement, But Not as Much as Europeans

Residents in Spain and France are the gloomiest, where more than two out of three people are concerned about their financial futures.

(Bloomberg) --If you’re worried about saving enough for retirement, you’ve got company all over the world.

A new survey shows that even workers in countries with strong social safety nets fret over their financial futures. ING surveyed almost 15,000 people in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, and found the majority worry whether they’ll have enough money in retirement.

Those with the gloomiest outlooks are in Spain and France, where more than two out of three people said they’re concerned. The most optimistic about their retirement prospects are the Dutch. In the U.S., 62 percent of respondents said they worried about having enough to retire on.

While the Dutch have the brightest outlook on retirement, they’re also planning to delay retirement the longest. The average respondent in the Netherlands expects to retire at almost 67 years old.

As retirement experts have pointed out, working longer makes retirement easier to afford. That goes for both individuals planning their futures and governments struggling to cover the costs of old age benefits. There are practical problems, however: Cutting pensions for seniors can be dangerous for politicians who try to do so. And, for workers who want to delay retirement, it’s hard to know whether their health will hold up or if employers will want to hire them.

Workers’ attitudes toward retirement may reflect the financial realities they face. In France, current retirees are the most likely to say they do not “enjoy the same standard of living I had when working,” at 69 percent. Just 30 percent of American retirees say they’re falling short.

And it’s entirely possible that some combination of government budget cuts, low saving rates, and weak market returns could make future retirees even worse off than seniors today. If so, a healthy fear of the future is justified for workers on both sides of the Atlantic.

To contact the author of this story: Ben Steverman in New York at [email protected]

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