WASHINGTON — Americans in their late 30s are now the group most likely to doubt they will be financially secure after retirement, a major shift from three years ago when baby boomers nearing retirement age expressed the greatest worry.
The survey findings by the Pew Research Center, released Monday, reflect the effect of a weak economic recovery beginning in 2009 that has shown stock market gains while housing values remain decimated.
As a whole, retirement worries rose across all age groups — roughly 38 percent of U.S. adults say they are "not too" or "not at all" confident that their nest eggs will be sufficient, according to the independent research group. That's up from 25 percent in 2009.
But the concerns are increasing the greatest among younger adults approaching middle age, whose equity in their homes represents most of their net worth. About 49 percent of those ages 35 to 44 said they had little or no confidence they would have enough money for retirement, more than double the 20 percent share in that age group who said so in 2009.
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Richard Morin, a senior editor at Pew who co-authored the report, said the shift in attitudes was somewhat surprising.
"I think most people would expect those on the cusp of retirement — ages 55 to 64 — would be the most concerned about financing their retirement," he said. But, "the wealth data showing those approaching or in early middle age had lost the most in the past decade suggests that their concerns are not misplaced."