Gallup data on retirement and pre-retirement well-being and expectations.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) who have not retired yet think they won't have enough money to live comfortably when they do retire, but 74% of current U.S. retirees say they are living comfortably.

Gallup analyst Jim Norman notes that data indicates that among those closest to retirement during the 2008-2012 period, those aged 50 to 64, only 35% said they expected to retire to a comfortable lifestyle. The percentage has not risen much among those aged 50 to 64 in the past four years, averaging 41%. Norman writes:

In Gallup's three most recent polls, 25% of nonretirees earning $100,000 or more annually do not expect to live comfortably when they retire. In those same three polls, more than half (58%) of nonretirees who are living comfortably now worry about having enough money for retirement. Even among those who are retired and living comfortably, 31% worry that it won't last.

The experience of recent retirees, most of whom report that they are living comfortably, provides some evidence that fears of retirement woes have been overblown. But complicating factors -- including people living longer, the drying up of pension funds and the low levels of savings among Americans in recent years -- seem to guarantee that no clear answers will be known for years to come.

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