Study: Americans Better Savers than Foreign Counterparts

January 19, 2005 ( - Most Americans, who save more for retirement than those in any other country, admit they will have to work longer than they wanted to make ends meet, according to a survey.

An AXA news release said the AXA Retirement Scope found that 76% of US workers are saving for retirement, compared with less than 40% of workers in Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.

Other key findings include:

  • Americans lead the world in preparing for their retirement. Nearly 80% of Americans surveyed have a plan for where they want to live, what they want to do, and how much money they’ll need in retirement. Most people started planning for retirement early, in their 30’s.
  • Americans are taking responsibility and making themselves more knowledgeable about retirement issues, with 90% of respondents saying funding retirement is primarily their individual responsibility, not the government’s or their employer’s.
  • Americans are the most likely to seek information about retirement from outside sources. Financial advisors, employers, banks and insurance companies are their leading sources for retirement planning, cited by nearly 70% of US workers.
  • Working Americans are saving, on average, $687 per month toward retirement. Retirees save $535 per month, on average.
  • American workers say they would like to retire at 55, but, in reality, don’t expect to retire until they are 63.
  • Home is the primary residence for most retirees. Ninety-two percent of US retirees are living in a home they own. An equal percentage feel staying at home or moving to another region or country would be ideal.
  • Only 2% of retirees want to move in with their children. Worldwide, however, nearly all respondents felt taking care of their grandchildren and helping out financially are major roles to assume during retirement.
  • Retirees worldwide are an active group. New Zealand retirees lead the world in gardening, sports, cultural interests, walking/hiking and visiting the family. In the US, 37% of retirees travel, a significantly higher rate than in other countries and apparently reflecting a desire to make up for fewer opportunities to travel while working. Additionally, 19% of US retirees enjoy a hobby, 18% participate in sports and 16% volunteer.
  • US standard of living for retirees is nearly equal to their standard of living while working. For 72% of US retirees, the standard of living has remained the same or improved during retirement. Two-thirds of US workers agree, while more than 50% of German workers expect a decline.

AXA contracted with research firm GFK Sofema, which managed the survey globally. Local firms fielded the questions in each country during late 2004. AC Nielsen conducted the survey by telephone in the US. A total of 9,200 people were interviewed in 15 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

Throughout the US, 813 people were surveyed, of whom 403 were working and 410 were retired. Those surveyed ranged in age from 25 to 75 years old.

The full survey is at .