U.S. workers may be doing a better job of preparing for retirement than workers in many other developed countries.
Researchers at AXA Equitable, New York, a unit of AXA S.A., Paris, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a study based on a survey of 6,900 retirees and workers aged 25 and older in 11 developed markets.
Researchers depended on participants to give accurate descriptions of their efforts to prepare for retirement. Cultural differences may have affected the way participants from some markets interpreted or answered the questions.
A number of workers told the researchers that they have not started saving for retirement.
But, if the responses are to be believed, U.S. workers who are saving may be saving more for retirement each month than workers from the other 10 markets included in the survey – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom
The U.S. participants who are saving are saving an average of $1,253 per month.
That average is more than twice the average for Hong Kong, the market with the second-highest average retirement saving level.
Only 22% of the U.S. workers surveyed were willing to accept a high level of investment risk in exchange for a chance to earn a high return, but the percentage of U.S. residents willing to accept investment risk was higher than in any other market studied.
In Australia, 20% of participating workers said they would accept investment risk. The percentage willing to accept investment risk was below 20% in every other market.
Some other study findings:
- Few U.S. workers believe Social Security reform efforts will cut monthly benefit income, but many believe workers will have to wait longer to collect benefits.
- U.S. workers are more satisfied with health care than workers in Canada or Spain but less satisfied than workers in Belgium, France or the United Kingdom.
- U.S. survey participants may suffer from a false sense of well-being. U.S. residents have a lower average life expectancy than residents of Japan or France, for example, but the U.S. survey participants were more likely than participants in any markets included other than Italy or Canada to say that they “feel much healthier than most.”