Longevity Concerns High Among Retirement Savers

Half of employees (52%) believe they are behind in their retirement savings and a nearly equal number of workers (53%) are very concerned about outliving their retirement money, according to MetLife’s 8th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study.


A MetLife news release said 51% are also very worried about having to work full or part-time in retirement. Likewise, according to the study, 53% of employees of all ages are very concerned about being able to maintain insurance benefits received through their employers in retirement, while nearly six in ten indicate that they are very concerned with being able to afford health care in retirement – even those who assess their overall health as good or better.

The study found that 61% of workers have planned for 20 years or fewer in retirement even though, with a median retirement age of 65, half of the study’s respondents will likely live beyond 20 years, and some well beyond age 85.

According to the study, 49% of those who have a retirement nest egg are interested in learning about how to protect their retirement income. Four in ten (40%) are interested in learning more about how they could use annuities as part of their DC plan, and 44% would like their employer to offer an annuity option in their 401(k), 403(b) and/or 457 plan.

When they retire, 55% of workers say that they’ll prefer to receive part of their nest egg for as long as they live rather than taking all of it in a lump sum, where only 9% strongly disagree with that statement (likely indicating that they prefer the lump sum), MetLife said.

According to the study, 70% prefer guarantees that offer stable but somewhat lower returns, compared to the 30% who prefer a higher degree of risk because the returns could be greater.

Based on MetLife’s latest study findings, very few companies currently offer annuities as either a defined contribution distribution option (16%) or as an IRA rollover option (13%).

The 8th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2009 and consisted of two distinct studies fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employer survey comprised 1,503 interviews with benefits decisionmakers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. The employee sample comprised 1,305 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees.

More information is at www.metlife.com/trends2010.