Americans Closest to Retirement Feel Unprepared

While people are optimistic and confident in numerous areas, a survey found concern, worry and a sense of unpreparedness on several financial fronts.

According to the “Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction (M.O.O.D.) of America” survey by Lincoln Financial Group, top financial concerns that keep Americans up at night include personal debt (39%), retirement planning (32%) and taxes (31%). Only 18% of those at the doorstep of retirement, those between the ages of 55 and 64, said they feel “very prepared” for the next financial phase of life.  People between the ages of 45 and 54 are even less confident, with just 11% feeling “very prepared.”

For many Americans, one of the primary ways to secure a sound financial future is by seeking advice from a financial professional. The survey found that “in control” Americans who speak with a financial adviser are six times more likely (35% compared to 6%) to feel “very prepared” for retirement than their counterparts who have neither taken control of their lives nor spoken with a financial professional.

The survey found that 38% of those polled use financial advisers or planners for financial advice. Other sources include: 

  • Information obtained via online searches (35%);
  • Spouse or significant other (31%);
  • Friends (24%); and
  • Parents and other family members, excluding children (21%).

“Overall optimism aside, the fact that such a large percentage of Americans closest to retirement say they feel ill-prepared is alarming,” said Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group. “It is important now, more than ever, that people be empowered to take charge by viewing financial concerns through a lens of opportunity, not through one of insurmountable challenge.”

The survey was carried out by Whitman Insight Strategies on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. It was conducted during late March 2013 among 2,322 adults, 18 years of age and older, across the United States. More information is at