The recession has not prompted many people to change their behavior and start saving more for retirement, according to a new survey by Charles Schwab.

The quarterly survey found that many Americans are neither financially nor emotionally ready for retirement, even as they approach their retirement years. Almost four in 10 Americans (39 percent) are not currently saving for retirement and, despite market losses, six in 10 Americans (62 percent) have not adjusted their thinking about what age they will retire – nearly unchanged from Schwab’s first quarterly retirement pulse survey in September 2008, months before the recession was officially declared.

Survey respondents estimate they will need just over $1.2 million to comfortably retire, yet those currently saving for retirement have put away an average of $194,000. Despite this awareness, 41 percent of Americans feel positively about their retirement preparedness and another 22 percent feel indifferent.

A deeper look at those closest to retirement (ages 55-63) shows a gap between planning and reality, as 30 percent used “contentment” to describe their retirement preparedness despite insufficient funds. Fifty-one percent of 55-63 year olds surveyed have saved less than $500,000, though they most commonly believe they will need $2,000,000 to retire comfortably.

To help bridge the $1,500,000 gap, 52 percent of this group are thinking they will retire later than planned, while 47 percent report they have not changed their thinking about retirement.

Among respondents aged 18-34 years old, 35 percent feel “indifferent” when it comes to their retirement preparedness, with 11 percent citing “fear” and another 9 percent responding with “anxiety.” Almost three in four (73 percent) assert that, despite the economy, they haven’t changed their thinking about when they will retire. Additionally, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of those 18-34 years old confess they are not currently saving for retirement. Among savers, an average of just $23,000 has been set aside for retirement purposes. 

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