More Americans Raiding Retirement Funds

Retirement Funds It looks like more Americans will be working longer and harder than ever. It seems that we're tapping into our retirement funds for tomorrow in order to make ends meet today, and if the economy is getting better, somebody had better tell our bank accounts.

In fact, a new study released by Bankrate, Inc. shows that that 19 percent of Americans have admitted to tapping into retirement funds over the past 12 months, to cover emergencies.

With personal debt continuing to mount, Americans are feeling even less secure about their finances this month and struggling to find funds to cover expenses. Here are more survey findings that show Americans are not particularly confident about their ability to make ends meet -- now or in the future:

  • One in three Americans (33 percent) say their overall financial situation is worse than 12 months ago.
  • Feelings of financial security among Americans, as measured by the Financial Security Index, sank to a new low of 93.5, down from 97.0 in March and below the previous low of 94.6 in December.
  • The percentage of Americans who are more comfortable with their debt has fallen 3 months in a row (Jan: 27 percent, Feb: 26 percent, Mar: 24 percent, April: 18 percent).
  • Seven percent of Americans admit to not having any retirement savings.

"Raiding the retirement account prematurely depletes the nest egg, subjects the individual to taxes and penalties, and deals a permanent setback to retirement security because you can never go back and make up for those early withdrawals," said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

Knowing all that, more and more Americans still seem to be willing to tap their retirement accounts to cover current debt. As jobs start to come back, look for more and more workers to put off retirement, and to start moonlighting in low-wage positions in order to compensate.


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