Expected Retirement Age Jumps 3.5 Years in One Year

An Allianz Life Insurance Company survey found that by nearly a four to one margin, Boomers remain more attracted to guarantees for their retirement savings over potentially higher returns.

When asked which is more attractive, a financial product providing 4% return that is guaranteed not to lose value or one with 8% return that is subject to market risk and loss of principal, 76% of respondents chose the guaranteed product — nearly identical to the 80% of respondents who gave the same response when Allianz conducted the survey last year.   

Pessimism about retirement preparedness remains unchanged. More than a third (35%) of respondents in both 2010 and 2011 said that, financially speaking, they feel totally unprepared for retirement – and a nearly equal number in each year (37% in 2010, 38% in 2011) said they have no idea if their income will last throughout their lifetime. According to a press release, in both years, fully half of respondents noted that they are extremely concerned about possibly outliving their income.   

One factor that has changed, however, is boomers’ expected age of retirement. Many now say they’ll need to retire later than they previously thought. In 2010, the average age of expected retirement was 63, but only one year later that average age jumped to 66.5.    

While the percentage of Boomers currently working with financial professionals remained nearly flat (26% in 2010, 27% in 2011), those who said they are now receptive to working with one increased (29% in 2010, 32% in 2011), and those who said they were not receptive decreased (25% in 2010, 21% in 2011). In terms of what type of guidance they want from their financial professional, boomers were increasingly looking to “create more safety and guarantees in my nest egg” (25% in 2010, 31% in 2011) and “understand the big picture for me financially” (29% in 2010, 37% in 2011).   

When asked to describe their retirement goals, 81% said one of their most important goals is having a stable, predictable standard of living throughout retirement.   

Originally conducted in May 2010 with more than 3,200 people ages 44-75, the refresh of Allianz's "Reclaiming the Future" survey used 439 of the same participants in March 2011—when the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its highest point in nearly two years—to determine how attitudes about retirement planning have changed.