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Wealthy Don’t Plan on Traditional Retirement: Barclays Wealth Survey

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A global survey from Barclays Wealth indicates that more than 60% of investors with assets of at least $1.5 million will not retire; at least, not in the traditional sail off into the sunset sense of retirement.

In the report released Monday, “The Age Illusion: How the Wealthy are Redefining Their Retirement,” Barclays Wealth announced, “60% of respondents say they envision always being involved in commercial or professional work of some kind, whatever their age.”

The report calls this finding an “unexpected phenomenon.” In some of the countries surveyed, the percentage of what Barclays’ report calls “nevertirees” is substantially higher–especially in emerging markets countries: “Saudi Arabia(92%), United Arab Emirates (91%) and South Africa (89%)” will continue to work in one way or another, according to the report. In the U.S. the 54% of the high-net-worth participants said they will not retire, however 75% in the U.S. said they “plan to work part-time,” when they stop working full time.

Matt Brady, head of Wealth Advisory, Americas at Barclays Wealth, noted in the announcement that, “This represents a step change for wealthy people. While previous generations looked to create their wealth early on in life with a view to enjoying it when they retired, this report reflects a different attitude, with people wanting to continue to challenge themselves well beyond the traditional retirement age.”

“Retirement funding” is an issue, even for the wealthy. People are living longer, and more people are planning to make their assets last 30 or more years in retirement. There is uncertainty over tax rates and not even the wealthy feel they are completely prepared for retirement, the survey announcement stated. Less than half of the participants (48%) said they were “financially secure.” And 10% of the wealthy don’t think they have the more than $15 million necessary, according to the survey, to secure their retirement.

“Unpredictability is a real concern for those in, and looking toward, retirement, and the steady rise of life expectancy, combined with inability to predict investment returns, can be daunting. Even if most people plan to continue to work in some form, investing during the later years of life remains very important. For many, income from work will be reduced and investment income, if any, will have to be used to meet the shortfall, to act as a safety net and to enable wealth transfer to subsequent generations.”

Ledbury Research conducted the survey, interviewing more than 2,000 wealthy individuals. All the participants had more than $1.5 million in assets to invest, and 200 had over $15 million of investable assets. Ledbury surveyed people in 20 countries, during the first six months of 2010.