Eric Henderson has a unique view of the retirement income industry. As senior vice president of individual investments for Nationwide Financial, he’s responsible for both the consumer and plan sponsor sides of the business. He knows what works and what doesn’t, what’s needed and what’s in demand. We asked him if, as an industry, we’re making any headway in addressing the ongoing retirement crisis (destined only to get worse as baby boomers turn 65 in 2011). He had a lot to say.
Where are we in the retirement income crisis?
A number of studies have recently shown the percentage of people who are confident they’ll have a comfortable retirement dipped further in 2011 than in 2009 at the bottom of the market. With 401(k) balances well above where they were in 2009, you’d think it would pop back up. The take-away is that it’s not that people are less prepared than they were two years ago, but that people are finally realizing just how unprepared they are.
So it’s still about effectively educating the public?
Yes, it’s an education thing. We’ve worked with the Boston College in the past and their retirement risk index shows 51% of Americans face the prospect of not having enough money to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. That’s half of Americans, and that’s amazing.