The ongoing financial malaise has not significantly altered Americans’ propensity to save for retirement, according to the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
Indeed, SOA’s bi-annual "Risks and Process of Retirement” report produced largely similar results to the report produced two years earlier. In both the 2007 and 2009 reports, almost one-third of pre-retirees (individuals currently in the workforce) stated that retirement would not really apply to them. Of this group of pre-retirees, 31% said they will be financially unable to retire, and 23% will choose to continue working.
Likewise, only 55% of pre-retirees in 2009 invested a portion of their money in stocks or stock mutual funds compared to 54 % in 2007.
"More long-term planning is needed for individuals, and it is imperative that they look beyond five or ten years, because that is the tip of the iceberg for many individuals nearing retirement or early into their retirement," says Anna Rappaport, FSA, EA, MBA, chair of the SOA Retirement Risk Survey and owner of Anna Rappaport Consulting. "Individuals are clearly concerned about their retirement and the associated risks, but many are still not taking the necessary actions and planning to address these issues."
What’s more, the report notes that the proportion of individuals planning to save money and work as much as possible is statistically unchanged compared to before the economic downturn. Inflation still reigns as the main concern, superseding healthcare risks, for both pre-retirees and retirees.
"From an actuarial perspective, we recommend a deeper understanding of the specific long-term retirement risks individuals need to address for their situation," says Valerie Paganelli, FSA, EA, MAAA, owner and president of Paganelli Consulting. "There was a surprising level of inaction by individuals in dealing with major retirement issues before the economic downturn and still again two years later. Changing one's behavior is not an easy process, but individuals need to jump-start the planning process today, no matter what their age. Awareness and preparation are needed for any number of emerging risks and unexpected challenges leading up to and during their personal retirement profile."
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