Workers Need Better Sources for Retirement Planning Information

May 16, 2012 ( - A study indicates American workers need more concrete sources of information to aid them in planning for retirement.

Despite workers’ demonstrated commitment to saving, just 39% believe they are building a sufficient nest egg, according to the 13th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.  

More than half of workers polled (57%) have a retirement strategy, including 12% who have a written plan and 45% who have a plan that is not written down. Of those with any form of strategy, only 15% have factored in contingency plans for retiring sooner than expected and/or savings shortfalls.   

Many still leave their future retirements up to guesswork; when asked how they estimated their savings needs for retirement, 47% admitted to guessing.  

More than one-third of respondents (34%) cited “friends and family” as a source of information about retirement. Only one in 10 discuss retirement planning frequently with family and friends and more than one-quarter (27%) never discuss retirement at all.  

“Retirement impacts families. An ongoing dialogue among family members can help prepare for hurdles and avoid misunderstandings,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “Our survey also found many striking similarities between the responses of workers in their twenties and fifties, suggesting that young people’s attitudes about retirement are greatly influenced by their parents. It’s important for older generations to pass on the lessons they’ve learned so the younger may avoid their missteps—and build on their successes.”

A majority of workers (62%) desire information and guidance about retirement planning from their company. When asked what could motivate them to learn more about saving for retirement, most respondents (52%) cited a good starting point or educational materials that are “easier to understand.”    

The Transamerica Retirement Survey found a majority (84%) of workers prefer a do-it-yourself decision making style regarding saving and investing for retirement, including nearly half (49%) of workers who seek advice but make their own final decisions and 35% who do their own research and make their own decisions. Despite these decision making styles, most workers (70%) agree they do not know as much as they should about retirement investing.     

Nearly one in three workers (29%) expect to financially support family members other than spouses or partners, after they retire, while 13% expect to receive financial support from family in retirement.   

Many workers (44%) expect to rely on savings from 401(k) or similar retirement plans as their primary source of income when they retire. Ninety percent of respondents cited an employee self-funded plan as important, and more than half of respondents (53%) indicated they would be likely to leave their current employer for a nearly identical job with a similar employer for better retirement benefits.    

For the full survey results and resources about retirement planning, visit