Affluent Confident on Retirement Preparation

Affluent investors are relatively confident about their preparation and expectations for retirement.

Six in 10 polled for the fourth quarter 2013 John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey say they expect their quality of living in retirement to be better than their own parents, and close to one-third think it will be about the same. Fewer than one in 10 (9%) say they expect it to be worse.

The quarterly poll of affluent investors found more than four in ten investors would not change anything about their retirement preparation. Nearly 30% wish they had saved more from the beginning, and 13% wish they had started planning earlier.

Half of survey respondents say their personal vision of retirement is best described by “being able to spend time as [they] choose.” Spending time with family and friends and spending time relaxing were the next best descriptions (35%). One in five indicate continuing to do work that they enjoy best describes their personal vision of retirement.

Of the 44% of investors who say they plan to work in retirement, 36% report they will likely work at a part-time job different from the one they held, while 28% expect to continue their existing job on a part-time basis. Sixteen percent plan to do charitable or volunteer work.

When asked to list the reasons they plan to work in retirement, nearly three-quarters say it would help them to stay healthier mentally and physically.  Feeling productive was another major reason (70%), as was "wanting to stay/feel connected with others," at 69%. More than half state they would be "bored without work." Forty percent want to keep contributing to their family's financial security.

Of those who plan to work in retirement, most are unsure how many years they would work.  But 17% plan to work five years or fewer, while 14% expect to work six to 10 years.

Investors did express some worries about life in retirement. One-third are concerned about entering retirement with debt. One-quarter are worried they will have to financially support their adult children and  are at least somewhat concerned about the possibility of having to support an elderly parent. Twenty percent worry about being able to leave an inheritance.

Though confident about their own quality of life in retirement, one-third of investors polled believe their children's quality of life in retirement will be worse, with about 40% thinking it will be about the same, and three in ten expecting their children's retirements will be better.

A total of 1,031 investors were surveyed from November 11 to November 22, 2013.  To qualify, respondents were required to participate at least to some extent in their household's financial decision-making process, have a household income of at least $75,000, and assets of $100,000 or more.