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Allianz: Economic Volatility Raises Doubts About Retirement

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More than half of non-retirees now question whether 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans are adequate ways to save for retirement, according to a report.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, published this finding in a summary of results from a new survey, “The State of the Economy’s Impact on College & Retirement Savings.” Conducted by Synovate Research, the Toronto-based market research arm of Aegis Group plc, the survey polled 1,000 individuals in August and September.

Of the total, 51% of respondents say their 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans will be inadequate for retirement. And 27% say that the safest place for any money left over after paying their expenses is “underneath their mattress.”

The report adds that Americans are cutting back on saving for their children’s education: 25% note they have either reduced or stopped saving altogether for college.

Among non-retirees, nearly half of the respondents (47%) observe that the current economic environment has impacted their retirement savings habits. Almost 20% have reduced spending on other things to keep saving for retirement at the same rate. And 30% have either decreased the amount they save for retirement or have stopped saving.

Additionally, more than one-quarter (28%) have not even started saving for retirement at all.

Sixty-one percent of U.S. non-retirees own investment/retirement savings products, such as employer-sponsored retirement plans (ESRPs), stocks/bonds/mutual funds, pensions or annuities, the survey finds. And 39% do not own any of these.

Topping the list of investment/retirement savings products are ESRPs (401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans), with nearly half (47%) of non-retirees owning them. Stocks, bonds or mutual funds outside of ESRPs are held by 27% of non-retirees.

The economic environment is also leading to cutbacks in college savings, the report concludes. While 25% are contributing less or have stopped saving entirely, more than four in 10 (44%) have not started saving for their children’s college education. Just 15% have reduced spending on other things to keep saving or paying for their children’s college educations.

Nearly half (46%) of non-retirees say that saving for retirement is an equal priority to saving for their children’s college education. While 22% feel saving for college takes priority over retirement, 32% think otherwise, ranking retirement as a higher priority, the survey says.


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