Baby Boomers' Financial Preparedness Does not Match Retirement Vision

August 20, 2007 ( - Though 71% of baby boomers surveyed by Thrivent Financial Services for Lutherans cited a lack of money as the single greatest issue that might prevent them from accomplishing their goals in retirement, most (59%) said they have not done any formal retirement planning.

The baby boomers surveyed were generally optimistic about retirement, with 56% saying they will have the same or better standard of living than their parents. However, only 20% said they believe they will worry less about money in their retirement years than their parents.

Although generally optimistic about having enough money in retirement, survey results indicated a perceived lack of money influenced how boomers envisioned spending their retirement years. Forty-five percent said they were likely to travel within the U.S. when they retire, followed by 39% who said they were likely to spend more time with children and grandchildren.

Few boomers surveyed said they would likely be able to leave a significant inheritance (5%), start a new business (6%), or contribute more money to organizations they care about (7%).

Only 16% of respondents had undertaken a formal retirement planning process with an adviser, and 34% said they had done serious calculations of their retirement needs on their own. However, 59% reported they had done neither.

Almost half (43%) of boomers surveyed said they plan to work either full- or part-time in retirement. When asked why, 39% said they will need the additional income, while 30% said they will work to keep busy.

Looking into a cause for their lack of financial preparedness for retirement, Thrivent asked boomers what was the greatest obstacle to saving for retirement. Thirty-five percent said starting to save and invest too late in life and 32% of baby boomers believed the cost of health care or health insurance was an obstacle. A low-paying job, credit card debt and the cost of housing rounded out the top five obstacles to being financially prepared at 29%, 28% and 27%, respectively.

The survey interviewed 2,500 individuals, ages 45 to 64, who had not yet retired.

The survey report is here .