U.S. baby boomers gloomy about retirement prospects

NEW YORK Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:20pm GMT

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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Baby boomers are the generation that fought for women's liberation and civil rights and turned 50 into the new 30, but they aren't as optimistic about the prospects for their own retirement.

As the oldest of the boomers turn 65 this year, more than half believe they will be less comfortable in retirement than the generation that preceded them, according to a new survey.

With an estimated 76 million baby boomers -- people born from 1946 to 1964 -- in the United States the golden years aren't looking as bright as many had hoped.

"I think they are seeing the haze of the economy hanging over the population as a whole," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

"They are the most pessimistic of the age groups about retirement and don't think they are as comfortable as previous generations were."

Overall 44 percent of 1,029 adults of all ages questioned in the Marist telephone poll believe they will have a harder time in retirement than their predecessors. Only 22 percent thought it will be easier.

"The boomers have a sense that there are a lot of them. There is this large group moving to that stage and things they thought would be there in terms of comfort aren't there," Miringoff explained.

"The page turned and the boomers have hit the magic age of 65, and that is what gives pause for thought on these issues."

Boomers also admitted in the survey that many expectations of their youth had not been achieved. Forty percent said that as teenagers they had expected a cure for cancer by the time they turned 65. Twenty-one percent believed poverty and hunger would be eliminated and 18 percent had expected an end to war.

Thirty percent also thought flying cars would be a reality, and 23 percent had expected human robots to be common.

Although it may not be much consolation in their retirement, 80 percent of people questioned in the poll acknowledged the contributions baby boomers, as a generation, have made to society.

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