The retirement years are expected to be less golden for some Americans, according to results from the 18th annual Retirement Confidence Survey. It reveals that only 18% of workers are “very confident about having enough money for retirement”—an 18-point drop from last year and the biggest one-year drop in the history of the survey.

And it’s not just workers that are losing confidence in the reality of having a financially secure future. Only 29% of retirees report that they’re confident their retirement will not be a financial struggle, down from 41% last year.

“In the nearly two decades we have been conducting the RCS, this year’s results show a very dramatic reduction in the public’s confidence about having a comfortable retirement,” says Dallas Salisbury, president of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Rising healthcare costs are of particular concern to workers and retirees. Forty-three percent of workers say they are “increasingly not confident about having enough money for medical expenses and 54% say the same about long-term care. Also, barely a third of workers surveyed say they expect to have employment-based health insurance once they retire.

For retirees, 44% say they have spent more than expected on healthcare and expect it’s less likely they will be able to cut back on other expenses if it looks like they might use up their savings early (61%).

“The economy and healthcare costs are major concerns,” says Salisbury.

However, on a positive note, more people are taking action to relieve these concerns. The survey found that 47% of workers and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much they will need in retirement, up from 29% the year before. Of those who calculated a retirement goal, 44% changed their retirement planning strategy and two-thirds have started to save or invest more.

“If there is a silver lining,” adds Salisbury, “it’s that Americans finally may be waking up to the realities of being able to afford retirement.”

Download the 18th annual Retirement Confidence Survey from EBRI’s website.

Read more about last year’s findings.

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