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Half of Consumers Can Afford to Live to 75: Northwestern Mutual

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Findings released May 7 from Northwestern Mutual’s 2013 Planning and Progress study show 56% of respondents said they felt financially prepared to live to age 75.

Confidence fell when respondents considered the possibility of longer life spans. Forty-four percent said they were prepared to live to 85 and 35% said they could afford to live to 95.

“Although we can’t break down the results by specific factors, we know that there are two potential risks that many Americans fail to consider—protecting their income from the possibility of an illness or injury that leaves them unable to work, and the possibility of needing long-term care,” Greg Oberland, executive vice president of Northwestern Mutual, told AdvisorOne on Tuesday by email. “The reality is, experiencing a disability or a long-term care event can derail one’s retirement plan.”

Most respondents expect to retire in their 60s, but 32% anticipate retiring in their 70s and 10% will work until their 80s, the survey found. About half of respondents admitted they felt less financially secure than they thought they would be at this point in their lives, and just 43% said they felt financially secure over all.

Oberland added, “Protecting against long-term care and a disability should be a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have, in comprehensive financial security planning.”   

Northwestern Mutual also released a case study on May 7 that described the effect a two-year disability could have on a portfolio. The firm found a 40-year-old investor who contributes 10% of his annual income to a portfolio but purchases no disability insurance could lose as much as 30% if he were disabled at age 50. Another 40-year-old investor who also contributes 10% of his annual income to his portfolio but who uses part of that to purchase disability insurance may have accumulated less by age 65, but would suffer only an 8% hit to his portfolio if disabled at age 50 for two years.

Northwestern based its conclusions on its own disability claims data, which shows the average age a disability begins is 50, and approximately 60% of claims are resolved within two years.


Read Longevity Is Killing Us: BlackRock’s Larry Fink on AdvisorOne.