The majority of Americans say they want and need income replacement projections for their retirement but most have neither access to that data nor an understanding of how to translate their 401(k) savings into a stream of retirement income, according to an online survey of more than 1,000 401(k) investors by J.P. Morgan.

Eighty-six percent said they will need to know how much of their pre-retirement salary they can replace, but 22% are not sure what they are on track to receive once they stop working. And only 40% feel comfortable that they will be able to reach their financial goals in retirement.

Americans are also unrealistic about how much they will need in retirement, with 45% believing they will need less than 75% of their pre-retirement salary. JPMorgan recommends at least 70% or more.

“On the positive side, some 91% of participants agreed that they were personally responsible for their own financial futures,” said Diane Gallagher, vice president, product development at J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. “However, there’s still a significant gap between acknowledging responsibility and acting upon it.”

The survey also found that 66% don’t know how much they should be saving for retirement and nearly half are scared they will outlive their retirement savings. Of those who think they will need 75% to 100% of their pre-retirement salary, less than a third had enough savings to provide this level of income.

The survey also showed that the overhang of the recession is taking its toll on retirement savings, which ranks a distant second to paying monthly bills.

“Paying monthly bills, credit cards and mortgages accounts for 71% of individuals’ top priorities,” said Donn Hess, managing director of product development at J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. “It is extremely difficult to convince participants that retirement should be more important than any of these financial concerns. That’s why we have to make it hard for people to fail as savers and why the right 401(k) plan design is so essential to the mix. Automatic programs can make the difference between someone who can afford to retire and someone who cannot.”



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