Study: Retirement Goal Setters More Financially Confident

October 6, 2004 ( - Participants who take the time to set out formal retirement planning goals are more likely to be confident about their financial futures.

That was a key result of the latest American Express Retirement Services Participant Satisfaction Survey. An American Express news release said the study found that participants who say they have calculated the amount of money they will need to live on in retirement are more likely to be “very confident” that they are well on their way to getting financially set up for retirement by a 3 to 1 ratio when compared to those who have not calculated a goal. That was up from a 2 to 1 ratio between them in 2002.

Not surprisingly, those goal-setters were generally more plugged in when it came to their retirement planning. They also tend to be more satisfied with their retirement plan and tend to contribute more of their salary to their plan and hold larger account balances, according to American Express.

Those surveyed that indicated a strong level of retirement planning knowledge correlated strongly to those with confidence in their investing skills and to those who set retirement goals. As one would expect, confidence in investing skills also was a strong driver of overall confidence in retirement planning.

“There are some fairly convincing data accumulating from the past few years of our survey that strongly suggests participant confidence is driven by whether or not people set a retirement savings goal,” said Rusty Field, vice president of American Express Financial Education and Planning Services, in a news release “It’s gratifying to see that the message of goal setting is being heard. But we can’t stop there. Helping people meet those goals as they aspire to is the all important next step.”