Consumers around the world are having a hard time saving for retirement and figuring out where to go for information.
Lizabeth Zlatkus, co-chief operating officer of Hartford Life, Simsbury, Conn., an arm of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, presented that finding Monday in New York, at an international insurance meeting organized by the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, and Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Texas.
Zlatkus based her presentation on results from a survey of more than 6,500 consumers ages 45 and older in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The percentage of consumers who described themselves as being somewhat, very or extremely concerned about the retirement savings issue ranged from 65% in South Korea and the United Kingdom up to 88% in Japan. The percentage was 79% in the United States.
The percentage of consumers who expected government pensions to be their main source of retirement income ranged from 29% in the United Kingdom up to 58% in Germany. In the United States, 35% of participants said they expect to depend mainly on government pensions.
U.S. participants also ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of the percentage of participants who said they believe they are responsible for their own retirement.
The percentage was 72% in the United States, and it ranged from 64% in Germany up to 83% in South Korea.
The survey uncovered evidence that retirement savings education campaigns are starting to get consumers’ attention: The percentage of participants who said they do not know where to turn for credible advice has increased in most of the markets studied.
The percentage expressing confusion about where to go for credible advice has increased to 27%, from 19% in the United States, and to 44%, from 38%, in Japan, the Hartford researchers report.
Overall, the results show there is clearly a need for access to financial education, and to information tailored to fit clients’ specific needs, Zlatkus said.
Consumers have plenty of general information, but they may be slow to save because they are not sure how to use the information to guide their actions, Zlatkus said.