There is nothing like a global economic crisis to take the fun out of retirement. Pressured by stagnating sales, underwater investments and severe capital and credit constraints, employers are suspending company 401(k) matches in record numbers, freezing traditional pension plans and wondering how they're going to fund suddenly underfunded plans or otherwise get the liabilities off the balance sheet--not to mention figure out viable ways to recruit and retain talent.
Employees, on the other hand, are tucking away their unopened 401(k) statements in a drawer and planning to work well past their once hoped-for retirement dates, while keeping their fingers crossed that they can hold onto their jobs in the interim. Baby Boomers are in the worst shape; their bountiful investments of two years ago now resemble their skimpy portfolios in the early 1990s, when they thought they would live forever and retire in still-youthful shape. Now, 58% of retirement plan participants surveyed by Barclays Global Investors in April say they plan to work until they die, while 63% say their former certainty about reaching their retirement goals has declined in the past year.