Bankers Life: More than 9 in 10 Retirees Flag Importance of Saving for Retirement Early

In this photo made Aug. 3, 2010, college student Pete Shannon, 78, is photographed in his Dallas home. Shannon is among a growing number of retirees who will be going back to school. (AP Photo/Cody Duty) In this photo made Aug. 3, 2010, college student Pete Shannon, 78, is photographed in his Dallas home. Shannon is among a growing number of retirees who will be going back to school. (AP Photo/Cody Duty)

Nearly 4 in 10 retirees say that saving more money for retirement is the most importance advice they could impart to young people, according to a new report.

Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement, Chicago, published this finding in a summary of results from survey of of 300 retirees between the ages 55 and 75 and with an annual household income between $25,000 and $75,000. Conducted in April 2012 by the independent research firm The Blackstone Group, the survey asked respondents open-ended questions about what they have learned in recent years and what real-world advice they would give to today's younger generation.

When asked what they considered the most important advice about life that they would give to young people, 39% of respondents said saving for the future was the most important, followed distantly by being happy and living life to the fullest.  Other responses included (1) planning ahead for retirement; (2) finding something to do for work that they enjoy; (3) being responsible for their own life; and (4) expanding their education.  When asked about the most important financial advice they would want to pass along to others, 93% say it is important to start saving early.  

Retirees also urge younger Americans to contribute to retirement plans available at work (84%), do more planning (61%), invest conservatively (39%) and get professional advice (37%).  One-third of respondents (30%) suggest living frugally. And one in five (22%) recommend that they work as long as they can.

When asked what retirement topics they wish they knew more about, "making your money last" ranks at the top of the list, the survey says. One in four (25%) are looking for information on investments and for guidance on how to maximize returns on retirement savings.  "Making the most from savings with the least risk" and "investments for the long term" were common trends voiced by middle-income retirees.

The second most common request was for more information on health insurance and Medicare, followed by travel deals, Social Security benefits, and healthy aging.

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