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Only One in Three Expect To be Ready for Retirement

Only 34% of Americans expect to be prepared for retirement, according to a recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll of 1,772 people who are key financial decision-makers in their households. Nearly a third, 27%, don't think they'll have enough money saved, and 39% are not sure.

Men believe they are better prepared for retirement than women, with half of men between the ages of 18 and 34 reporting they expect to have enough money saved for retirement, versus less than a third of women in that age bracket expecting to be ready.

But between the ages of 45 and 54, just under 25% of men think they'll be prepared, and among women 55 or over, only 10% expect to live comfortably in retirement.

The poll also indicated that more than half of Americans are not participating in their 401(k) plans; only 45% said they are participating in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. But among those earning $75,000 a year or more, the participation rate shoots up to 66%. Predictably enough, among those earning $35,000 or less a year, the participation rate drops, to 22%.

Of those in all age groups who are not investing in an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, 35% said their employer doesn't offer a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, while 14% said they have made the conscious decision not to participate in such a plan.

"As the Baby Boomer generation moves quickly toward retirement," said Anne Aldrich, senior vice president at Harris Interactive, "this poll shows that many are unprepared financially."

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