Pre-Retirees in Higher Education Seek Retirement Advice

September 17, 2009 ( - A recent TIAA-CREF survey of 1,002 higher education employees, aged 50 to 70, who are actively saving for retirement, finds that six in ten have consulted with a financial adviser or other financial professional regarding their retirement and preparing for it within the past two years.

Of those who consulted a financial adviser or professional, 89% said they sought guidance on how their savings should be invested, and 60% said they sought guidance on how much they should be saving. Half said they sought advice on how to draw income to live on from their savings once they retire.

Nearly seven in ten respondents (69%) who consulted with a financial adviser or professional intend to implement most or all of the advice they received. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said it is important for them to receive advice on strategies for drawing income to live on from their savings in retirement.

Two-thirds of all respondents (65%) reported they are “somewhat or very” concerned about outliving their savings in retirement.

Rather than cause pre-retirees to hold on to their savings, the survey results indicate it has inspired them to keep saving or put away more savings. Three-quarters (76%) indicated that In the past year, developments in the economy and financial markets did not lead them to change the amount save for retirement, while 24% said they did change the amount they save. Of those who did change the amount they save, the majority (61%) increased their savings.

However, of the 41% who said the markets led them to change their asset allocation, 83% reported they decreased their allocation to equities.

Of those whose employers contribute to their workplace retirement savings plan, only 4% indicated their employers contribution rate changed in the past year, with more than a quarter (27%) saying it increased.

The TIAA-CREF survey of higher education employees ages 50 to 70 found 71% are concerned about being unable to afford good health care. More than a quarter (28%) of those who have consulted with a financial adviser or professional within the past two years sought guidance on how to pay for health care expenses in retirement.

Eighty-six percent of all respondents said it is important to them to receive advice regarding paying for health care as they near retirement.

While most have thought about how they will pay for deductibles, co-payments, premiums, and co-payments in retirement, only 23% feel very well prepared to meet such expenses. Sixty-three percent said they would be very or somewhat likely to contribute to a tax-preferred savings account specifically designed to pay for health-related expenses in retirement.

PublicMind of Fairleigh Dickinson University fielded the study during April and May 2009.