Boomers Feeling a Bind in Saving for Retirement

An MFS survey found 59% of non-retired Boomers agree with the statement, "I'm more concerned than ever about being able to retire when I thought I would."

The MFS Investment Management’s Investing Sentiment Survey found half agreed that they have lowered their expectations about what life would be like in retirement. However, when it comes to investing, 30% of Boomers reported a net decrease in the risk they were willing to take to achieve higher returns over the last 12 months; only 12% reported a net increase.   

MFS also reported that Boomers are approximately evenly split when describing their primary investing goal: 34% reported it to be growing assets/increasing portfolio value as much as possible while 33% reported protecting principal/not losing money as their primary goal. Nearly four times as many Boomers would describe themselves as protective investors (37%) vs. opportunistic investors (10%).  

Boomers’ average asset allocation included 26% of their portfolios in cash. Only 13% of Boomers surveyed reported having $1 million or more in median household investable assets, while on average, retirement was within 10 years.  

“Boomers appear to be in a bind, knowing they need to save more for a retirement that is not far off, but they have a protective mindset driving their investing approach,” said William Finnegan, senior managing director of retail marketing for MFS, in the press release. “In light of this sentiment, advisers should discuss with their clients both the risks associated with investing too aggressively or too conservatively as they approach retirement.”

MFS sponsored the survey from February 7-14, 2011, of 596 individual investors with $100k+ in household investable assets and 610 licensed financial advisers (either FINRA or SEC) who have been licensed for at least three years with at least $500,000 or more in annual mutual fund sales. All investor respondents make or share in making financial decisions for their households. Boomers refer to those 46 to 64 years old.