More than in 8 in 10 American say that having a guaranteed income stream is key to secure retirements savings.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, published this finding in a new survey, “The State of the Economy’s Impact of College & Retirement Savings.” The survey, which polled 1,000 respondents, was conducted through Synovate Research in August and September of 2011.

When asked to rate factors related to creating a more secure retirement, the most popular selection was “having a guaranteed stream of income in retirement” (86%), outranking “having a 401(k)/403(b)/457 plan” (71%).

When asked to rate their own personal needs, nearly half (47%) of non-retirees rated a guaranteed stream of income as the top retirement need they have yet to acquire to feel more secure. This was deemed more important than the next highest selection, “a job that gives me a 401(k)/403(b)/457 plan” (27%), and more than twice as important as “having a diverse portfolio of investments” (22%).

Only 8% of non-retirees say they own an annuity and less than a quarter (18 percent) have guarantees through a pension. Nearly 40% indicate they own no retirement or investment products of any kind. Furthermore, 26% say they still have no idea what they need to acquire in order to feel their retirement will be secure.

“Our survey results are confirming that Americans want more guarantees in retirement but simply don’t know what to do to create financial certainty,” added Bhojwani. “More education is clearly needed about annuities and how they can help protect a portion of savings and provide steady, predictable income throughout a person’s retirement.”