A new survey finds that retirees are most concerned about the impact of the investment markets and an unexpected medical issue on their post-career standard of living.
Those were the most commonly cited concerns among retiree households, according to “Converting Retirement Income Planning Into Practice: Fulfilling the Needs of Current and Future Retirees,” a recent survey conducted by the Financial Research Corporation (FRC) and Synovate’s Financial Services Practice. Those concerns dominated even though they can readily be addressed with investment and insurance products – even among those who have invested in such products, according to FRC. Still, only 20% of retiree households in which the couple or individual had been retired from a primary career for three years or more and had at least $100,000 of investable assets, owned a fixed annuity, while 18% owned a variable annuity.
Older retirees were more likely to own annuities than younger retirees, while widowed retirees were the most likely of any group to own them. Of those who did purchase annuities, the top reason they were purchased were for the guaranteed death benefits; the second most common reason was for the guaranteed income. However, of those who did purchase annuities, 17% indicated they did not fully understand the value of owning an annuity, meaning advisers might need to spend some more time explaining investments to some clients to ensure they are aware of, and comfortable with, what they are purchasing.
The survey authors noted that annuities can offer increased assurance to retirees because they create a pension-like payment and that receiving a pension in retirement is highly correlated with increased confidence, comfort, and security. Moreover, the survey reports that those receiving pension payments in retirement have higher average incomes than those without and that they tend to draw down less income from other investments.
Women are three times as likely as men to be going through retirement alone, and FRC said that women tend to find most financial tasks to be more difficult than men, including determining appropriate levels of income to take. They have also evidenced a preference for full-service advice and guidance platforms.
FRC said that retirees place their assets into an average of 4.3 different investment types, with the most common being checking/savings accounts, stock and bond mutual funds, and individual stocks. Yet, when retirees own less commonly available investments, such as separately managed accounts (SMAs), they tend to allocate a sizeable portion of their portfolio to them. For example, just 14% of retirees own SMAs, but they allocated an average of 30% of investment assets to that product – demonstrating a potentially significant opportunity for advisers to educate and direct clients in their purchasing of investments.