June 11, 2009

LIMRA survey: Older consumers don't know enough about retirement income products

Thirty percent of older consumers have a negative attitude toward annuities, and twice that - 60 percent - say their knowledge about investments is "subpar." LIMRA's director of Retirement Research Marie Rice says there is a clear need to educate consumers on retirement income products and the features available.

In a survey (conducted in collaboration with Northstar Research Partners) of both retirees and non-retirees, LIMRA found both groups desire to create an income from their investments and savings; maintain their current lifestyle; and have the ability to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Early retirees said they are most interested in staying in their home, and pre-retirees are more interested in creating and increasing their retirement nest egg.

"What was most striking about the survey was that what consumers said was important in terms of their financial goals and how they behaved did not mesh," said Marie Rice, LIMRA's director Retirement Research. "For example, at least three-quarters of consumers said that creating an income stream from their savings was important yet only about 20 percent said planned to use annuities as a source for retirement income."

On a positive note, 70 percent of respondents said they have consulted with an investment professional. Still, only 28 percent said they actually have a formal written financial plan.

"By conducting a needs-based analysis to help their customers understand their options, financial professionals can show them how to choose the proper retirement income solutions that will meet their financial goals," Rice said.

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