Retirees Fear Spending Down Retirement Nest Eggs

June 6, 2008 ( - A new Nationwide survey found that 57% of retirees are only spending their pension distributions and Social Security benefits without dipping into the rest of their retirement savings.

A Nationwide news release said the Retirement Income Confidence Survey indicated that among those only drawing down their pensions and Social Security, nearly 25% admitted they were afraid to spend income from their retirement investments. Some 47% of retirees and pre-retirees said they are not sure their expected retirement income will be enough for a comfortable standard of living.

Meanwhile,37% indicated they believe the income from their retirement investments is very predictable, while less than half said they are “very sure” they have relied on the right mix of retirement investments to begin with. Generally, pre-retirees are less likely than retirees to say they have the “right mix” of investments.

Finally, two-thirds of retirees who work with an adviser are looking for help on how to grow and protect their investments and safely take out income. They are least satisfied with advice on how to draw down their savings without draining it prematurely.

“It’s natural for consumers to have a tendency to ‘play it safe’ when it comes to their nest eggs,” said John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial Distributors, Inc., in the news release. “But an overly conservative approach can also mean they’re not fully utilizing the resources available to them, leaving themselves potentially vulnerable to market, inflation, or longevity risk.”

Nationwide commissioned Yankelovich to conduct an opinion survey among American adults aged 55 to 77 who have at least $100,000 in investable assets. Survey results were obtained through telephone interviews among a representative, randomized sample of 1,000 adults.