Workers are more confident about retirement preparedness but they’re not any better prepared, according to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey released today by the Employee Benefits Research Institute. “This increased level of confidence does not appear to be founded on improved retirement preparations,” the report found. “In the aggregate, worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps to prepare for retirement.”

It’s a case of the haves and the have nots. The increase in retirement confidence over the last year–18% percent of workers are now very confident, up from 13% in 2013–occurred primarily among those with a retirement plan (presumably they saw large account balance increases because of the stock market run-up) compared to unchanged confidence readings for those without a plan. A third of workers with a retirement plan have more than $100,000 saved while only 3% of those without a retirement plan have more than $100,000 saved. Nearly three-quarters of those without a retirement plan have saved less than $1,000.

What can employees learn from the survey results to improve their chances of a comfortable retirement? We chatted with Greg Burrows, senior vice president of retirement and investor services at thePrincipal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa, a leading 401(k) provider and a survey underwriter. Here are five keys to a money-worries-free retirement.


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