Lincoln Develops Assets-to-Income Ratio

Lincoln Financial says to reach a secure retirement, one should aim to save ten times his or her annual income.


Based on independent research licensed by Lincoln Financial Group, Lincoln developed an assets-to-income ratio that aims to help Americans monitor their retirement savings progress at every stage of their lives.   

The research consisted of savings profiles and behaviors of almost 1,200 retirees who achieved various levels of savings in preparing for retirement. Lincoln concluded that savers should aim to hit the savings benchmark of at least 10 times (10X) their income at a typical retirement age, coupled with pro-active retirement savings behaviors.

Lincoln says the “10X” ratio “is an evolving target that adjusts as income changes throughout a lifetime, allowing people to improve their numbers incrementally as they save, and measure how they stack up relative to their peers and overall savings goals. The 10X score can help people gain perspective on the need for retirement planning.”

To understand how people can reach their retirement goal, Lincoln segmented the population by those who achieved the 10X benchmark and those who did not.  By examining the variations in behavior among the two groups, Lincoln identified four pro-active retirement planning behaviors commonly cited by those with high assets-to-income ratios. The behaviors that lead to better outcomes are:

  • Getting advice from a financial professional
  • Participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or IRA
  • Saving steadily, and making extra contributions in “power-saving” years
  • Having an investment strategy

The research also identified three behaviors retirees who reached the 10X goal did not rely on. They were:

  • Receiving an inheritance
  • Selling a primary home or making money through real estate
  • Selling a business or shares in a former employer’s company stock

“Contrary to popular belief, the results show that certain behaviors many savers think may be part of their retirement strategy, like selling a home or receiving an inheritance, weren’t a factor in  top-saving retirees’ action plans,” stated Garry Spence, Head of Lincoln’s  Defined Contribution Worksite Services. “Following the four simple savings behaviors of real retirees who report they are successfully retired, may help people have a greater chance at a positive impact on retirement savings.”