Poll Finds 57% of Americans Putting off Retirement Date

February 25, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Some 57% of Americans expect to work past their normal retirement, the highest percentage among people in any of the 10 countries in a recent survey.

An Aviva news release said Americans are more engaged in retirement planning than residents of any other country represented in the study by taking actions such as increasing retirement savings and reviewing retirement plans, in addition to the expectation to work later in life.

Thirty-five percent of Americans plan to put more money into retirement savings in the next 12 months – the highest response of any of the 10 countries surveyed and significantly higher than the 22% median positive response, the news release said. Respondents in Spain (29%) and China (28%) were the only countries besides the U.S. where positive responses to the question about putting additional money aside for retirement in the next 12 months topped 25%.

“Although they are concerned about whether they have saved enough and how they will maintain their standard of living in retirement, there is evidence more Americans are taking action to do something about their retirement worries,” said Aviva USA president and CEO Chris Littlefield, in the news release. “It’s clear more Americans are prepared in the long term to work beyond the normal retirement age and plan to continue to save more for retirement.”

In addition to working longer and saving more, 44% of Americans have reviewed their retirement/pension plans over the past 12 months, the highest percentage among the 10 countries Aviva surveyed. Although retirement planning activity is increasing, the survey found Americans generally are not comfortable with their current position: three out of five Americans who have not yet retired (62%) don’t think they will have enough money to have an adequate standard of living when they retire.

The 57% of Americans who agreed with the statement “I think I am going to have to work beyond the normal retirement date to fund my retirement” was the highest percentage of agreement among all the countries surveyed, and 10% higher than the composite response of 47% agreement. Only one in seven Americans (15%) disagreed with the statement – the lowest disagreement response rate among the 10 countries surveyed.

The survey – which was fielded this past October and November – revealed 52% of Americans do not believe they have the necessary savings or investments to cope with an unexpected event. Only one in four believe they do.  

The survey covers 10 of its core markets in Europe (UK, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Ireland), America and Asia (China, India, Singapore). It is a nationally representative survey of adults age 18 and over. In each market, 1,000 respondents were interviewed, with the exception of China, where 2,000 adults were surveyed. Fieldwork was conducted between October 11 and November 10, 2010.