Retirement Age Still Getting Pushed Back

December 17, 2010 ( – Workers recently polled by AXA Equitable Life Insurance say they anticipate retiring at 61 – four years later than in previous generations.

An AXA news release said people in most countries are also expecting a lower standard of living in retirement. Globally, 43% of workers and 30% of retirees believe their retirement income will be insufficient. Working people know they need to prepare for retirement, with 46% saying they have started to prepare and an additional 37% intending to start later.

“Our survey shows people realize they will be increasingly dependent on personal savings in retirement but aren’t ready,” said Andrew McMahon, senior executive vice president of AXA Equitable and president of its Financial Protection & Wealth Management business, in the news release. “Clearly individuals are coming to terms with the reality that they won’t be able to retire until many years after they hoped, unless they prepare successfully.”

Americans are among the top nations surveyed to say that they have already started their retirement planning. Among U.S. workers, 72% said they have started saving for retirement, compared with a global average of 46%. Not only have a large percentage of Americans started preparing for retirement, they are starting younger than people in other countries. U.S. workers are among the youngest to say that they have started to prepare for retirement; the average age in the U.S. is 31, compared with the worldwide age of 34.

The average American anticipates retiring at 64, three years older than the survey average of 61, and six years older than their desired retirement age of 58.

Additional survey findings include:

  • The main triggers to start saving for retirement in the U.S. are employer contributions to a defined contribution plan; reaching a key age; and advice from family or friends.
  • Americans have the most self-reliant view of retirement savings, with 58% of those polled, a greater percentage than any other nation surveyed, preferring to fund their retirement savings on their own rather than depend on the government.
  • U.S. workers prefer meeting face-to-face with someone when purchasing an investment. In addition, 65% of workers and 65% of retirees have used insurance, financial, or other professionals as sources of information to find out about financial products versus 50% among workers and 44% among retirees across all countries.

Research firm GfK NOP managed the survey globally for AXA Group. Local firms fielded the questions in each country from March 1 to May 25, 2010. A total of 31,539 people between 25 and 75 years old were interviewed in 26 countries.