In the past few days, three surveys have been released thatpaint a rather bleak picture of Americans' financial status andexpectations about retirement.

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Perhaps the most startling finding came from a national surveyfrom CashNetUSA.com.Surveying about 1,000 Americans, 23% report they had less than $100in savings to fund an unexpected emergency on a given day, while46% say they have only $800 tucked away in a savings account.

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Meanwhile, Aviva USA's recent Consumer Attitudes to Savingssurvey pretty much mirrors those results, with only 27% revealingthey have enough money saved to pay for an unexpected emergencywhile seven out of 10 report having no savings account at all. Justunder half own life insurance and roughly a third holdinvestments.

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About a third of the respondents (32%) consider financialplanning too complicated for them to do on their own, and almostone in four would like someone else to sort out their financialaffairs.

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No surprise then that Americans are concerned about their goldenyears. Nearly six in 10 expect to work beyond retirement age andare worried they won't have enough saved for an acceptable standardof living in retirement. Strikingly, 17% say the only way to ensurethey have adequate retirement savings is for it to be required by law.

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Commenting on the results in a statement, Matt Spackman, AvivaUSA vice president of customer insights and analytics, said thatsome Americans are “paralyzed” in the face of their financialchallenges and consequently do nothing.

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“It's surprising that 27% of Americans say they do little or nofinancial planning,” he said. “And it's no wonder that two-thirdsof Americans say life is more risky than it used to be. Many simplydo not have the financial backstops they need to deal with life'sunexpected events or a plan to sustain them in retirement.”

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Work in retirement? Maybe not.

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Is working in retirement a realistic goal? According to a surveyby the Insured Retirement Institute, 64.4% of baby boomers and 70%of Gen Xers state that one source of retirement income will be ajob. This is part of a longer-term trend, the IRI points out.Citing statistics from the Employee Benefit Research Institute,people age 65 and over constituted 17.9% of the labor force in2011, up from 10.7% in 1986.

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Further, postponing retirement until age 70 has a significantimpact on retirement readiness, the IRI reports states.

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However, working in one's golden years may not be feasible,given that many are forced out of the labor force prematurely. Whenit surveyed retirees this year, IRI found that 50% had to leave theworkforce earlier than planned. Top reasons included a health issueor disability (51%); changes at their employer or downsizing (21%);and family caregiving responsibilities (19%).

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Democrats more optimistic

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The Aviva survey asked Americans what direction they thought theeconomy was headed over the next 12 months and this being anelection year, results were split along party affiliation.Democrats and Republicans differed in their views, with 33% ofDemocrats expecting it to get better versus 16% of Republicans.Further, Democrats were 50% more likely than Republicans toanticipate their own household financial circumstances wouldimprove in the next year.

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This article was originally posted at LifeHealthPro.com, a sistersite of Credit Union Times.

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