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MetLife Gauges Financial Literacy

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About 43% of U.S. near retirees believe that they can withdraw 10% or more of their retirement savings each year while preserving their principal.

Researchers at the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Westport, Conn., a unit of MetLife Inc., New York, report that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 1,216 “financial decisionmakers” ages 56 to 65.

Most experts recommend that retirees hold their withdrawal rate to 4% or less, the researchers note.

Altogether, survey participants answered an average of 6.4 of the 15 questions in a MetLife “2008 Retirement Income IQ Test” the way the researchers thought they should.

About half agreed with the researchers about how much retirement income they would need, or estimated that they would need more retirement income than the researchers estimate.

But 60% of the participants estimated that their life expectancy was lower than the researchers believe it is, the researchers report.

About 62% of the participants have a rough understanding of how long term care expenses are covered, the researchers found.