retirement panic
(ri.TYR.munt pan.ik) n. Anxiety and fear caused by the concern that one may not have enough money for retirement.

Example Citation:
TERENCE SMITH: Joining me now to discuss how Americans are reacting to their diminishing returns are business writers and editors from around the country: Kathy Kristof of the "Los Angeles Times," Chris Lester of the "Kansas City Star," Beatrice Garcia of the "Miami Herald," and Doug Heuch of the "Pittsburgh Post Gazette." Welcome to all of you.

Kathy Kristof, we have a new word, a new phrase in the language these days: retirement panic. In your reporting, are you sensing that?

KATHY KRISTOF: Well, I'm not seeing panic but I'm definitely seeing profound worry.
—"Fears for the future," The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, July 23, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Every seven seconds for the next 16 years, another baby boomer will turn 50. And with almost the same frequency, someone, somewhere, will release another study telling us how woefully unprepared we are for the high future cost of retirement. . . . Enough already! We're scared, OK? But we should point out one thing: what these studies have in common, aside from their ability to paralyze midlifers with their work-till-you're-80-and-then-eat-pet-food scenarios, is who's paying for them. They are almost all funded by the brokerage and mutual-fund houses that stand to cash in on the great retirement panic, or by employers only too happy to watch their workers take more responsibility for their own futures.
—Linda Stern, "The Golden Fears," Newsweek, November 3, 1997

Notes:
The prime candidates for retirement panic are those whose retirement is imminent, but who remain fully or at least significantly invested in the depressed stock market. Not surprisingly, the earliest citation I could find for this phrase occurred around the time of the last market downturn.

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