Study examines how much money needed for a safe retirement

As public employees throughout the country watch their state governments attempt to pare down their benefits policies, a new study from Employee Benefits Research Institute reveals just how much a person may need to retire comfortably.

According to the Institutes's 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 31 percent of respondents believe they could live a secure retirement on less than $250,000. That comes at a time when nearly 35 percent of the population is earning less than $35,000 per year, according to a 2008 review from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Additionally, just 13 percent of respondents are "very confident" they will have the money to retire comfortably - an all-time low. Forty-five percent of respondents said they are "not too confident" or "not at all confident."

The low figures are likely to drive people to work longer. Almost 70 percent of respondents believe they are "behind schedule" when it comes to preparing for retirement, and another 20 percent plan to work longer than expected. The RCS concluded that working later into life is the only way for many to avoid poverty during their retirement years.

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