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For Investors, Guaranteed Retirement Money Trumps Growth

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Concern over retirement income far outweighs investors’ interest in growth today. A study by Allianz released Monday found that 80% of respondents feel guaranteed retirement income is important, compared with 28% who said they are ready to invest in the current market.

Furthermore, 78% of investors prefer financial products with guarantees over those with the potential for high growth but more risk (22%).

“Hands down, Americans are saying their retirement savings strategy must include products and choices that offer guarantees, even though equity markets have performed well this year,” Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights, said in a statement. “It appears that the recent threat of volatility is enough to keep many consumers away, particularly those who are focused on saving for retirement.”

The survey was conducted in September among 791 respondents 18 or older who were not yet retired.

Allianz asked respondents what they would do if they received a windfall to put toward retirement. The majority (39%) said they would look for a product that offered a balance between as much as 10% growth and at least some protection. Another 11% said they put it all into a high-growth product, even without any protection from loss.

However, respondents were also very comfortable with low-growth products. Nineteen percent said they would invest in a product with only 2% to 3% growth but no potential for loss. The same percentage said they would use a savings account, even if it had little or no interest. Twelve percent said they would just hang onto the cash and “wait for the market to correct.”

“Concerns about covering basic expenses and outliving money in retirement are clearly driving more interest in solutions that can address these topics while still protecting against market losses,” Libbe said.

Those were the biggest fears respondents had regarding retirement (34% and 20%, respectively), but other concerns clearly show investors are worried about the future. For 17% of respondents, paying for health care in retirement was their top concern. Respondents were evenly split between seeing their savings drop and keeping up with inflation (12%), while 4% said managing tax increases was their biggest retirement worry.

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