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What Retirement Savers Worry About Most

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What You Need to Know

  • COVID-19 is the top worry, but inflation comes in a close second, according to an Allianz Life survey.
  • Fewer respondents than in 2020 said they would seek financial advice.
  • Millennials say their financial situation got worse in 2021 but are optimistic about 2022.

COVID-19 still weighs heavily on the American public today looking into 2022, but rising inflation and its impact on retirement plans is a close second, according to a new study by Allianz Life Insurance Co.

The November online study of 1,115 participants ages 18 and older also found only 22% of respondents were likely to seek advice from financial professionals, down from 27% in 2020. More people are feeling confident in their own do-it-yourself plans (34%) or believe they don’t make enough money to worry about it (26%).

While currently almost half of respondents (48%) saw the pandemic as the most “worrisome threat” and 38% see rising inflation as a problem, looking ahead, 25% — more than triple the previous year — see inflation as the “single greatest risk to their retirement plans.”

“Given the seemingly constant changes with the pandemic, it’s no surprise it is top of mind for the majority of Americans as they think about saving and spending in the new year,” said Kelly LaVigne, vice president of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life. “However, inflation is clearly a more pressing concern as people live with it day to day. It’s also forcing them to think about how they can mitigate this significant risk to their retirement security down the road.”

Millennial Angst

Confidence in managing finances also is shown in how many believe they are eliminating bad habits. For example, 28%, down from 32% the previous year, stated they “spend too much.” However, only 23%, down from 27%, said they “save some, but not as much as they could,” according to the study. That said, one-third of respondents said they have no bad financial habits; this is up from 28% in 2020.

But millennials have the least confidence in the state of their finances, the study found. Twenty-five percent said their finances grew worse in 2021 versus 2020. This is higher than Gen Xers (17%) and baby boomers (15%).

Millennials are also most concerned about stagnant wages and job security. The study found that 22% (vs. 15% of Gen Xers and 6% of boomers) were worried about plateauing wages, while 21% (vs. 12% of Gen Xers and 5% of boomers) were worried about job security.

These concerns dovetail with millennials’ concern about rising inflation and how it will affect their day-to-day needs (65%), ability to save enough for retirement (71%) and short-term goals (70%).

That said, millennials are the most optimistic generation (at least 42% are) regarding their financial situation in 2022, vs. Gen Xers (22%) and boomers (18%).

(Image: Adobe Stock)