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What Scares Retirement Planning Prospects Now

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National Retirement Planning Week is running from April 8-12. Many groups and companies have tried to support the awareness campaign by publishing the results of consumer and investor surveys, to find out what Americans are thinking, or trying not to think about, about preparing for post-retirement needs.

(Related: Observe Retirement Planning Week by Passing Bills: ACLI President)

Here’s a look at some of the data three major organizations have published.

Insured Retirement Institute (IRI)

IRI has posted a major baby boomer survey white paper here.

IRI commissioned Woelfel Research Inc. to conduct an online survey of Americans ages 56 to 72. The sample included 804 people.

The survey uncovered consumers’ fear and confusion about where they would get retirement income.

The older the consumers were, the more they expected Social Security to be a source of guaranteed income: 94% of the oldest participants, in the 67-72 age group, said they were counting on Social Security income, compared with just 80% of the youngest participants, in the 56-61 age group.

The participants in the youngest age group were much more likely to describe their expected source of guaranteed income as “none”: About 8% of the youngest participants said they would have no guaranteed income, compared with 4% of the participants in the middle and oldest age groups.

The oldest boomers were also much more likely to see they would get income from annuities: About 21% of the oldest participants said they would get income from individual annuities, compared with 13% of the participants in the 62-66 age group, and just 11% of the youngest participants.

IRI also asked the participants without annuities why they have no annuities.

About 42% said they don’t have enough money to pay for annuities, but many participants cited knowledge-related reasons:

They don’t know anything about annuities: 26%.

They don’t like what they’ve read or heard about annuities: 16%.

No has ever discussed annuities with them: 12%.

Advisors said not to buy annuities: 6%.


Ameriprise Financial Inc. commissioned a survey of about 3,000 U.S. investors, ages 30 to 69, with at least $100,000 in investable assets.

Ameriprise has posted some of its survey results here.

The Ameriprise found fear about how future generations will keep it going.

About 62% said they feel extremely or very confident about their financial future, and 47% said they are better off than their parents were at the same age.

But 48% said they think it will be harder for the next generation to achieve financial success.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of investors in our study say that achieving financial success has been the same or easier for them than it was for their parents at the same age.

Allianz Life

Allianz Life has posted a portion of the results from an online survey of 1,005 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older here.

The survey was conducted in March.

In additional data shared with ThinkAdvisor, survey managers focused on consumers’ worries about investment market volatility.

The Allianz Life survey team found that consumers are about as scared about the stock market now as they were a year ago — but that younger consumers are more scared as older consumers.

About 52% of the survey participants said they expect the stock market to go up at least 5%, down slightly from 53% a year earlier. The percentage who said they worry that a big market crash is on the horizon increased just slightly, to 45%, from 42%.

But the survey team also found that the Millennial participants, who, in theory, should have much more time to recover from market downturns than the older participants, were more worried about volatility than the older participants.

About 43% of the Millennials said they were too nervous to invest in the market right now, compared with 35% of the Generation X participants and 28% of the Baby Boomer participants.

The results raise the ability that some Millennials may have about as much interest as older investors in products, such as indexed annuities or buffered annuities, that would give them some protection against market volatility.

About 50% of the Millennials said they would be “willing to give up some potential gains for a product that protects a portion of my retirement savings,” compared with 44% of the Generation X participants and 51% of the Baby Boomer participants.

— Read Let’s Make Kids Part of the Financial Literacy Conversation.

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