October 18, 2006

Retirement Anxieties Go Global

Study finds retirees around the globe are concerned with outliving their savings

Each day 7,918 baby boomers turn 60 in the United States. Born between 1946 and 1964, these soon-to-be retirees are joined by those in Japan and the United Kingdom, where the demographics and the anxieties are similar.

An international survey sponsored by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. was conducted in the U.S., U.K., and Japan to compare the overall level of confidence that baby boomers and the older population in general have about being financially prepared for retirement. The survey showed that 7 in 10 people in the U.S. and the U.K. are at least somewhat concerned about retirement. These concerns skyrocketed in Japan, where 9 out of 10 say they have at least some concerns.

Results also suggest that consumers need to be better educated about retirement planning issues. "The Hartford's survey shows that, when it comes to retirement planning, many people living in the world's most advanced economies struggle with preparing for retirement," said Liz Zlatkus, The Hartford's president of international wealth management and group benefits, in a statement.

An underlying concern in the planning process seems to be the global need for guaranteed income during retirement. Three in four Japanese survey respondents (76.5 percent) rated a source of guaranteed income in retirement as extremely or very important compared with 57.7 percent in the U.S. and 47.1 percent in the U.K. However, with escalating financial pressures on public and private pension systems, retirees are unlikely to receive a stream of income that will keep them comfortable in retirement, placing more responsibility in their hands.

In addition to a need for guarantees, the study discovered a common anxiety about the sources of retirement income that retirees plan to rely on. Respondents reported that the fear of running out of money in retirement would prompt them to work longer and delay retirement or work part time during retirement. This applied to 40.1 percent in Japan, 36.4 percent in the U.K. and 34.3 percent in the U.S.

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