It can be difficult enough to make ends meet on a daily basis here in New Jersey, let alone thinking about planning for retirement.

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A new study from insurance company Allianz Life finds nearly half of Americans are either "very concerned" (36 percent) or "terrified" (11 percent) that the rising cost of living will impact their retirement plans.

While retirement is a concern for all Americans, it is especially daunting in the Garden State.

New Jersey has the distinction of finishing dead last four years running in an annual United Van Lines' National Movers Study, which ranks the rate of residents moving in and out of each state. The study found that 32 percent of former New Jerseyans fled the state because of retirement, which is much higher than the national trend.

Nationally, a major source of panic for 53 percent of the respondents of the Allianz study is whether their income will be able to match the inflation rate, and the potential for living on a fixed income.

"If you don't get that kind of a pay raise with whatever you're using for retirement income, that's when have people that have to just adjust their lifestyle down," said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights.

And many people appear ready to concede and make those sacrifices. The study revealed that 57 percent plan to adjust by living more modestly in retirement.

The most concerning statistic of all is that nearly one-third are worried about being able to pay for essentials, such as housing, food and medical care, because of the rising cost of living.

"They may not be able to meet their essential expenses in retirement," Libbe explained.
That statistic bears even more weight here in New Jersey where cost-of-living and taxes are among the highest in the nation.

Overall, Libbe said it is clear from the data that consumers are aware of inflation and concerned about its effects on their retirement.

"This study highlights the potential psychological and fiscal impact of inflation on a person's financial strategy," Libbe said. "As consumers move into retirement, they will not only need to consider how to make their income last for 30 years or more, but also how it can cover rising costs driven by inflation."

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