Eighty-three percent of Americans are concerned about the effects today's economic conditions could have on their ability to retire, with seven in 10 saying it is harder to retire today than it used to be, according to a survey commissioned by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

When asked what a secure retirement meant to them, nearly half described it as simply having enough money to pay their bills and meet the most basic of needs.

More than half of respondents say the current retirement system is worse than the previous system in which more workers could receive pensions. The vast majority of Americans (87%) believes that all workers should have a pension in order to be self-reliant during retirement, with 55% of those without a pension saying having one would do leaps and bounds to ease their anxiety.

Of those who do have pensions, 65% are confident it will be there during retirement; only half of those with 401(k)-type plans believe they will have enough money to retire on.

Government is partially responsible for retirement security along with individuals and employers, according to 85% of respondents. Respondents say strengthening Social Security is the most important step Congress can take in its efforts to improve retirement security, followed by tax incentives that would aid individual saving and employers' offering of retirement plans.

In fact, 84% believe government should make it easier for employers to offer pensions in this environment, while nearly 80% would like to see a government-sponsored pension plan that small employers and individuals could join. Nearly 90% think it's a good idea to provide tax incentives encourage small employers to band together to offer pensions.

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