Globally, many younger employees expect that it will be necessary during their own retirement to also provide financial support to aging family members, according to a new study, titled “The Changing Face of Retirement: The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2013,” while 12 percent are “very optimistic” about having enough money for retirement. For the study, conducted by the nonprofit foundation Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with Aegon, 12,000 workers and retirees from 12 European, North America and Asian countries were surveyed.
Three in 10 employees between ages 18 and 24 expect they will have to provide financial support to aging parents, compared to 16 percent of employees between 35 and 44 and only 8 percent between 55 and 64. In the United States, 32 percent of employees between the ages of 18 and 24 expect to financially support their aging parents.
The global financial crisis has also led respondents to expect reductions in benefits. Nearly two out of three employees (63 percent) expect their government retirement benefits will be less valuable due to government cutbacks — 65 percent among American workers. Forty-four percent of employees surveyed expect their employer or pension fund will reduce their workplace retirement benefits. Thirty-seven percent expect this in the United States.
Another survey, conducted by Ameriprise, titled “Retirement Derailers,” aimed to find why and how retirement savings are so often tapped into before retirement.
The survey found that the vast majority (90 percent) of Americans ages 50 to 70 with $100,000 or more in investable and retirement assets have experienced at least one “derailer” — an economic or life event that has made an impact on their retirement savings goals.
The average respondent experienced four of these events, which range from derailers that are beyond their control such as the effects of the recession, to family and lifestyle choices that have lasting financial consequences.
In the end, these events set respondents back $117,000 on average. In fact, nearly two in five of the respondents (37 percent) experienced five or more unanticipated events costing them approximately $144,000.
The three most-cited derailers are related to the recession. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents say low interest rates impacted the growth of their investments. More than half (55 percent) say their savings were significantly lowered due to market declines, and one-third (33 percent) admit their home equity is now not going to help fund retirement as much as they expected.
One in four (23 percent) are supporting a grown child or grandchild and just as many (23 percent) say their pension plan is not worth as much as they’d thought or has been discontinued. What’s more, according to the survey, one in five respondents’ retirement goals have been thrown off track due to making bad investments (22 percent), taking social security before retirement age (19 percent) and/or experiencing a job loss (18 percent).
Only 33 percent of respondents say they are extremely or very confident they would be able to afford an unexpected expense such as large home repairs in retirement.
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