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Ready, aim, freeze

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

Where you live appears to have some influence on how prepared you feel for retirement.

For the second year in a row, Ameriprise Financial surveyed people in the 30 largest metropolitan areas and concluded that overall they are feeling significantly less confident about retirement than they did a year ago. The survey measured:

  • Likelihood consumers have determined the amount of money they need in retirement.
  • Savings habits.
  • Solid plans for retirement activities.
  • Personal degree of confidence that people will be able to achieve their retirement goals.

While 75 percent of those surveyed said they'd actually done some retirement planning, only 18 percent say they believe they’ll achieve their dreams in retirement. That's down a few ticks from 21 percent who thought they had the retirement tiger by the tail in 2010. Likewise, people are feeling other negative emotions about retirement this year compared to last. They say they are:

  • Worried -- 24 percent in 2011 vs. 21 percent in 2010.
  • Anxious -- 21 percent vs. 17 percent.
  • Depressed -- 10 percent vs. 8 percent.

Given that level of negativity, it's probably not surprising that fewer people are making plans for enjoying their retirement. Plans for these popular pursuits have all diminished:

  • Spend more time with family -- 37 percent in 2011 vs. 41 percent in 2010.
  • Travel -- 23 percent vs. 26 percent.
  • Pursue hobbies -- 19 percent vs. 21 percent.
  • Volunteer -- 13 percent vs. 15 percent.
  • Continue education -- 10 percent vs. 13 percent.

Here are the overall rankings for the 30 largest metropolitan areas with the 2010 ranks in parentheses. No good explanations were offered why people in some parts of the country are cheerier and better prepared than others. But people who live in California appear to be noticeably happier than the rest of us, with the folks in New York City and Indianapolis feeling particularly grumpy:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (12).
  2. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto (4).
  3. San Diego (6).
  4. St. Louis (17).
  5. Portland (24).
  6. Hartford-New Haven (7).
  7. Dallas-Fort Worth (11).
  8. Los Angeles (30).
  9. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne (28).
  10. Philadelphia (22).
  11. Chicago (13).
  12. Pittsburgh (18).
  13. Tampa-St. Petersburg (19).
  14. Seattle-Tacoma (5).
  15. Houston (14).
  16. Denver (8).
  17. Phoenix (16).
  18. Minneapolis-St. Paul (1).
  19. Raleigh-Durham (2).
  20. Detroit (21).
  21. Baltimore (9).
  22. Charlotte (27).
  23. Boston (10).
  24. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (20).
  25. Washington D.C. (23).
  26. Nashville (3).
  27. Cleveland-Akron (25).
  28. Atlanta (15).
  29. New York City (26).
  30. Indianapolis (29).
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2 Comments
Wolverine
November 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

"No good explanations were offered why people in some parts of the country are cheerier and better prepared than others. But people who live in California appear to be noticeably happier than the rest of us..."

So in other words, this "study" means absolutely nothing.

Or maybe I should just move to California so I can feel happier?
Maybe that's why I am so grumpy.