A Third of Boomers Overwhelmed by Retirement Issues

February 16, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Thirty-two percent of Baby Boomers and Mature Americans recently polled are worried they won’t be able to afford the retirement lifestyle they want and they’re not sure how to improve their prospects.

The research by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America labels that group as being “Overwhelmed” when it comes to retirement planning in its Reclaiming the Future study, according to an Allianz news release.

Based on its survey of more than 3,200 Americans ages 44 – 75, Allianz Life identified five Boomer financial personalities, each with different needs as they approach retirement, the news release said.

“These personalities can be extremely useful for Boomers, helping them to identify with peers and letting them know they are not alone,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Marketing and Solutions for Allianz Life, in the news release. “Realizing that there are others who share the same concerns is an important step for boomers in their retirement planning process – whether that leads them to reevaluate their current strategy or connect with a financial professional for the first time.”

According to the news release, the five groups Allianz identified include:

  • Overwhelmed(32% of respondents): The largest segment, “Overwhelmeds” feel unprepared for retirement and lack confidence in their ability to put together a strategy for their financial needs in retirement. They have the highest level of credit card debt and low asset levels. They are depending heavily on Social Security for their retirement.
  • Resilient (27%): Pragmatic and grounded, this group was hit hard psychologically during the recession. “Resilients” have finally woken up and now recognize the need for better planning while also restoring their battered portfolios. They are most concerned with outliving their income and realize they may have to work longer than expected to achieve retirement goals.
  • Iconic (20%): “Iconics” can be thought of as “role models” – “true blue” retired Americans who’ve worked hard and lived within their means. They’re middle class, live mostly on a pension, and are extremely disciplined and traditional in their viewpoints and values. “Iconics” may have reduced some of their spending recently, but they have a clear understanding of their retirement expenses.
  • Savvy (14%): Those in the “Savvy” category are financially sophisticated, affluent boomers who pride themselves on having prepared well for retirement and being informed about most financial concepts. This group is living comfortably in retirement and appears to be the best-prepared of the five personalities. They are financially independent and comfortable taking risks.
  • Distracteds (7%): the youngest of the segments, are caught up in the complexity of modern life and tend not to focus on planning for retirement. They have the highest income of any segment and tend to spend freely – with family and home expenditures taking priority over saving for retirement. Although they have substantial assets, they may still be worried that their savings won’t be adequate for retirement and have no real plan for growing those savings.

Allianz Life polled 3,247 Americans, ages 44-75, with a minimum household income of $30,000. Via a statistical technique called cluster analysis, consumer segments were identified based on attitudinal, behavioral, psychographic and demographic characteristics.

More information is at https://www.allianzlife.com/MediaCenter/ReclaimingTheFuture.aspx.