Picturing Life in Retirement Boosts Savings

When asked to think about their life in their 60s, 70s and 80s, people said retirement savings should be increased by 31%, Capital Group found in a survey.

When people envision how they want to live in their retirement years, they are motivated to save more, Capital Group found in a survey of 1,022 American adults.

Half of the adults were asked to envision their life in their 60s, 70s and 80s. This group recommended saving 31% more of their paycheck than the other half, who were asked how much they wanted to save for retirement. For women and Millennials in the first group, the recommended savings was 40% to 50% more.

“When people think about their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, they overwhelmingly view that part of life as a time of freedom and independence compared to their 20s or 30s,” says Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group. “Our survey reveals that people who envision the life they want in retirement recommend saving more of each paycheck in a 401(k) account. This simple insight—if you can picture your retirement, you can save for it—can help Americans secure the financial future they want in their later years.”

The survey also found that 58% believe they will enjoy a more positive retirement than that of their parents and older generations, primarily due to advances in health care, technological innovations and their financial situation.

However, they envision a different type of retirement than older generations, with only 11% thinking it will be a traditional retirement. Eighty percent believe that flexible and part-time jobs will support their retirement savings, and 79% think that Americans will need more opportunities to work, earn and save later in life.

Eighteen percent of Millennials said full- or part-time work will be important for their financial security in retirement, but only 9% of Baby Boomers and 14% of Gen Xers said the same.

Seventy-three percent think their 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) will be among their top three sources of financial security in their retirement. Sixty-three percent of Boomers include Social Security in that top three, but this is only true for 32% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Xers.

Sixty percent of Boomers expect to be financially secure in their 60s, and 54% expect to be financially secure in their 80s.

By contrast, only 48% of Gen Xers expect to be financially secure in their 60s, and this drops to 41% for Millennials and 43% for Gen Xers as they envision their 80s and older.

“The financial services industry sometimes accentuates worries and guilt to get people to pay more attention to planning and saving for retirement,” Lord adds. “Fear doesn’t generally work. We believe that imagining one’s later years is a powerful exercise that helps drive increased average savings per paycheck for retirement.”