Duffers More Sure of Golf Game than Retirement

September 8, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Golfers may have their eye on the next hole while out on the links, but one thing they're apparently not spending much energy thinking about is how much money they will need when they stop working.

A new survey of golfers averaging 50 years of age, conducted by Nationwide Financial Services, Inc. and The Golf Digest Companies, found that many duffers are spending more time dreaming of being in the Masters some day than doing some hard financial planning for their retirement.

According to a news release about the poll:

  • 94% of golfers are aware of the areas of their golf game that need improvement, but only 45% know which areas of their savings and investment strategy need to be beefed up.
  • 85% of golfers know the score of their latest round of golf and 75% know their golf handicap – but only 52% know the current value of their portfolio.
  • Three quarters (74%) claim the amount of money they spend on golf has increased as they have aged, yet only 54% can say the same for their retirement savings.
  • This is true while the Tiger Woods wanna-be’s are facing an average $1 million shortfall in their retirement portfolio. Those responding to the poll had saved an average $289,000, but expect to need a $1.3 million nest egg if their Golden Years will be comfortable.

“This survey demonstrates the greater effort golfers spend on their game versus planning for their future,” said Mark Thresher, president and COO, Nationwide Financial, in the news release.

While the golfers may be experts at getting out of sand traps, their retirement savings knowledge is still a bit spotty, according to the survey. Some 70% of golfers believe they are currently saving or investing enough for retirement. On average, golfers said they will need 64% of their current annual income in retirement. However, most industry studies indicate that 70% to 80% of current income is a more realistic expectation to maintain a person’s present lifestyle in retirement.

Non-golfers face a similar predicament. Their average savings are $167,000 with a retirement goal of $1 million. The average non-golfer surveyed, who is slightly younger at nearly 47, will need to quadruple his or her savings to meet that goal. That figure still will be short of the $1.2 million they’ll likely need.

The Nationwide/Golf Digest telephone survey was administered by The Golf Digest Companies Research Resource Center of 808 not-yet-retired adults between the ages of 18 and 65 from June 30, 2005, to July 6, 2005. The samples included 400 golfers and 400 non-golfers from across the United States.