Fewer respondents are saving for retirement than in prior years, according to Franklin Templeton’s 2016 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey.
According to the survey of 2,019 adults age 18 and older, 41% indicated that they are not yet saving, compared with 35% in 2014.
And, while savings are down, the survey finds concerns are up.
Stress when thinking about retirement savings and investments saw a slight uptick year over year, with 70% of all respondents reporting stress this year versus 67% in 2015, according to the survey.
As Franklin Templeton sees it, there’s a disconnect between the concerns people have about retirement and taking action to address those concerns.
Over the last three years, Franklin Templeton has found that the percentage of those not saving for retirement is increasing and so is the percentage of those concerned about outliving their assets or having to make major sacrifices to their retirement strategy.
“While there’s no question that individuals understand the importance of planning for retirement, they may be overwhelmed with preconceived and often unrealistic expectations that can prevent them from taking any action, as they don’t know where to start,” said Yaqub Ahmed, head of defined contribution-U.S. for Franklin Templeton, in a statement.
As the survey also finds, anxiety and stress can have an adverse effect on the retirement planning process.
Of the survey respondents who reported experiencing significant stress when thinking about their retirement savings, 65% indicated that they did not have an understanding of how much they should expect to withdraw or spend on an annual basis during retirement. Similarly, according to the survey, 60% of those who were concerned about managing retirement income do not know how they will pay their medical expenses during retirement.
This is where the survey shows a formal retirement plan or professional advice has some serious benefits.
According to the survey, uncertainty decreased dramatically among respondents who have a formal or completed retirement plan. Less than a third felt uncertain, compared with 73% of those who do not. However, overall only 25% of the respondents indicated that their retirement income strategy was complete. In addition, the survey found that half of Gen Xers (51%) felt their retirement income strategy was inadequate, and 40% of millennials do not have any strategy in place.
The survey also found professional advice had a positive impact on the retirement planning process, with the majority of respondents (60%) considering a financial advisor important to both the planning process and generating income during retirement.
Even those who have not started saving for retirement recognized the positive role a financial advisor can have, with more than half (57%) echoing this sentiment, according to the survey.
However, according to the survey, less than a quarter of respondents (23%) currently work with an advisor and only 2% said they plan to do so in the next five years.
“The RISE survey shows us that the first step of saving for retirement — whether in a retirement plan at work or an individual investment — is often the best step,” Ahmed said in a statement. “By utilizing both professional and informal resources and taking small steps to address evolving needs, you can build a retirement strategy from the bottom up and lay the foundation for a successful and happy retirement.”
Year after year, the survey finds that the number one piece of advice retirees have for their non-retired counterparts is to save early, often and consistently – with 71% saying so in this year’s survey.
When respondents were asked to describe their feelings about their retirement income plan, those who were already saving exhibited more understanding, confidence and happiness overall, compared with those who had not started saving for retirement (63% vs. 24%).
The survey was conducted online among a sample of 2,019 adults comprising 1,011 men and 1,008 women 18 or older between Jan. 4 and 18, 2016.
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