The number of Americans who believe they will live a comfortable retirement has fallen markedly to 41%, down from 59% who believed this in 2002, Gallup found in its annual economy and personal finance survey.

The 18-point drop was echoed in responses by retirees, as well.

In 2001, 60% said their 401(k) and other tax-exempt plans would serve as a major source of income in their retirement. This year, the reading was 42%, the lowest that Gallup has measured. Last year, 54% said their 401(k) would be the biggest source of income.

As Gallup put it, “There is little doubt that this reflects the major drop in the stock market over the last year and the resulting ‘statement shock’ that has confronted many workers when they open up their 401(k) statements and see the major decline in their overall value.”

The percentage of workers who expect to rely on part-time work in retirement is climbing. Today, 22% expect to continue to work in retirement, up from only 10% who said so in 2001.

Gallup interviewed 676 non-retirees age 18 and older in the second week of April.

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