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Retirement Income Calculations Stun Pre-Retirees


What a difference a calculator makes. Hard numbers may be the only thing that can wake up Baby Boomers from their unrealistic retirement dreams, a new survey shows.

When first surveyed by Charles Schwab of San Francisco, 64% of Americans ages 45 to 65 with household incomes of at least $75,000 said they were confident they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement. However, after having their retirement needs assessed by Schwab's Center for Investment Research, confidence levels plummeted by half, to 32%.

"It's always sobering when expectations and reality collide," says Schwab VP Carrie Schwab Pomerantz.

Schwab analysts estimate workers need to save $230,000 for every $1,000 in monthly retirement income. According to these calculations, $1 million in savings provides $50,000 in annual retirement benefits. At an average age of 52, 56% of survey respondents have less than $250,000 saved, and 31% have banked less than $100,000.

Boomers are also increasingly worried about the cost of health insurance coverage in retirement, according to Allstate Insurance's second "Retirement Reality Check" survey. The number of respondents concerned about health care costs soared from 39% in 2001 to 67% in the latest poll. The survey also found that 52% of women and 45% of men worry about getting sick, concerns aggravated by the costs associated with obtaining health care coverage and long-term care in retirement years.