A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. shows that that 19percent of Americans have tapped into retirement funds over thepast 12 months in order to pay for emergency expenses.


Among full-time workers, the number decreased slightly to 17percent. However, for residents of Western states, the likelihoodincreased to 22 percent. And for the unemployed and those earningless than $50,000 a year, the chances increased to one in four.Additionally, seven percent of the people surveyed admitted tohaving no retirement savings at all.


Other findings include:

  • One in three Americans (33 percent) says their overallfinancial situation is worse than 12 months ago.
  • Feelings of financial security among Americans, as measured byBankrate's Financial Security Index, sank to a new low of 93.5,down from 97.0 in March and below the previous low of 94.6 inDecember.
  • Feelings of job security are falling, too; when asked how theyfelt about their job security compared to 12 months ago, only 17percent felt more secure, 58 percent felt about the same, and aquarter (25 percent) feel less secure. Despite overall job growth,these numbers represent a decrease in feelings of job security fromMarch, when 19 percent of people felt more secure in their job, and21 percent reported feeling less secure. Additionally, men are muchmore likely to feel more secure in their jobs than women, 24percent to 9 percent.
  • The percentage of Americans who are comfortable with their debthas fallen 3 months in a row (Jan: 27 percent, Feb: 26 percent,Mar: 24 percent, April: 18 percent).

"Raiding the retirement account prematurely depletes the nestegg, subjects the individual to taxes and penalties, and deals apermanent setback to retirement security because you can never goback and make up for those early withdrawals," said Greg McBride,CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com in a pressrelease.


The study was based on telephone interviews with a nationallyrepresentative sample of 1,004 adults, ages 18 and older. Theinterviews were conducted from April 7 to April 10, 2011, byPrinceton Survey Research Associates International.

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