By nearly a 4 to 1 margin, baby boomers remain more attracted to guarantees for their retirement savings than to potential high returns with market risk, according to a new study.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, published this finding in a summary of results from a survey of 3,257 U.S. adults, ages 44 to 75, to determine how attitudes about retirement planning have changed. The online poll was conducted for Allianz Life by Larson Research and Strategy Consulting, Inc., New York, and DSS Research, Fort Worth, Tex.

When asked which is more attractive, a financial product providing a 4% return that is guaranteed not to lose value or one with 8% return that is subject to market risk and loss of principal, 76 percent of respondents chose the guaranteed product, nearly identical to the 80 percent of respondents in 2010.

“Despite a significant rebound in the equity markets since the financial crisis, this new study confirms that a ‘new normal’ mindset has dug deep roots in the minds of boomers,” says Allianz Life President and CEO Gary C. Bhojwani. “With the vast majority still in favor of more security for their savings, boomers tell us they are not interested in going back to return-chasing behaviors.”

The “new normal” mindset, the report states, includes expectations of a sluggish economy, low investment returns, a more conservative investing strategy, expectations of delaying retirement and an increasing interest in seeking help from financial professionals.

More than a third (35%) of respondents in both 2010 and 2011 said they feel financially unprepared for retirement. And nearly an equal number in each year (37% in 2010, 38 percent in 2011) said they did not know if their income will last throughout their lifetime. In both years, fully half of respondents noted that they are extremely concerned about possibly outliving their income.

–Warren S. Hersch