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Survey Points to Lower Retirement Expectations Among U.S. and European Workers

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There is widespread pessimism about the future state of retirement, according to a new report.

AEGON, The Hague Netherlands, published this finding in a summary of results from a survey of 9,000 people in the U.S. and eight European countries, including respondents in France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. AEGON developed the survey in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a U.S.-based private foundation; and Cicero Consulting, a public policy and communications consulting firm.

More than seven in 10 of the survey respondents (71%) still working believe that future generations will be worse-off in retirement than are current retirees. The finding, the study reveals, reverses the long-established notion that each subsequent generation will enjoy a higher standard of living than the last.More than two-thirds of the respondents accept that they bear principal responsibility for their retirement security.

However, only 15% are confident that they are on course to achieve the retirement income they need. This finding is also reflected in the AEGON Retirement Readiness Index, which the company developed to measure retirement in the various countries represented in the report.

The survey says that most respondents support increased taxes, reduced benefits (or both) to ensure the viability of government sponsored pension systems. But nearly half of the respondents do not support raising the age of retirement, even as people are living longer, healthier lives.

However, a majority of respondents expect to continue working in some form past traditional retirement age. The survey also reveals that a “phased retirement”–individuals continuing to work in some capacity beyond the traditional retirement age–is becoming the norm.

More than half (54%) of the current generation of retirees went straight from work into full retirement, but only 30% of the current working generation expects a similar path.The findings further indicate that “silver entrepreneurs” could become more common as many in the current generation plan to combine activities, such as starting their own businesses with leisure pursuits in their advanced years.


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