LOS ANGELES – While the U.S. economy has accelerated in the last year, Americans 55 and older – many of whom saw their retirements stung by the financial crisis – are course-correcting their lifestyle plans, work/leisure expectations and investing strategies, according to a study released by AIG Life and Retirement in collaboration with Age Wave.
According to the AIG Retirement Re-Set Study, 72% of the survey respondents said the recent economic uncertainty provided a “financial wake-up call.” And 80% of those 55 and older said they are now more cautious in their approach to investing. They are far more likely to seek financial peace of mind as a key goal versus potentially higher – but riskier – returns.
“Americans are rightfully concerned about retirement and more careful in their investment strategies,” said Jay Wintrob, President and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement. “The 2008 global financial crisis provided a financial wake-up call that people have taken to heart. They are now seeking a safer and more predictable road to retirement, one with less risk and more financial security.”
“In a new era of flux and uncertainty, Americans are rebounding from a difficult period and showing their resilience by turning toward greater expense control and more responsible retirement planning,” said Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave. “Lessons learned have not been forgotten. Many people are adapting a new retirement mindset and are choosing to work a bit longer, thereby helping to make retirement more affordable. They are re-setting their sights on a revised, more achievable path to retirement.”
The 2012 survey, conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive among 3,426 respondents aged 55 or older, follows last year’s noteworthy study which unearthed a new approach to post-recession retirement strategies. AIG Life and Retirement and Age Wave first partnered in 2001 on a groundbreaking Re-Visioning Retirement Survey.
This year’s survey found that more than four times as many people chose saving enough to have “financial peace of mind” (61%) as a top financial priority compared to accumulating as much wealth as possible (14%).
Eight times as many people (32%) plan to look into ways to protect existing assets than those who plan to invest more aggressively to make up for lost time (4%) in response to the recent economic and financial market uncertainty. And 54% expressed concern about their personal financial situation, saying they felt less financially secure than they did a year ago.
“The impact of the most difficult economy in generations has left a lasting impression, with Americans seeing their retirement savings jeopardized by low interest rates and high market volatility,” Mr. Wintrob said. “While the stock market and economy have somewhat rebounded, the confidence that many Americans once had has diminished. People are now looking for stable, lower-risk strategies that will provide the income and security they need in retirement.”
According to Dr. Dychtwald, “It’s notable that protecting themselves and their families from investment surprises is of utmost importance to men and women nearing or in retirement. While there has been a great deal of discussion about the economic impact of the past few years, this survey revealed that the psychological impact was also substantial – and a new mindset is emerging. Today, people are far more likely to recognize the need to scale back some of their retirement expectations while stepping up their saving and responsible financial planning.”
“Financial peace of mind is critical for Americans today,” Mr. Wintrob said. “We are keenly focused on providing the protection, investment and income solutions needed for financial and retirement security, and I’m confident that the entire financial services industry will play an important role in helping Americans improve their retirement outlook and prepare for tomorrow.”
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For more information regarding this national study and its findings, please visit http://aigretirementreset.com.
AIG Retirement Re-Set Study Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive within the United States on behalf of AIG Life and Retirement and AgeWave between August 28 – September 7, 2012 among a nationwide cross section of 3,426 adults aged 55 and over. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About AIG Life and Retirement
AIG Life and Retirement is one of the largest and strongest life insurance and retirement services organizations in the United States. The organization traces its origins to 1850 and today is among the largest issuers of annuities and life insurance in the United States, as well as a leading provider of defined contribution plans in the education and healthcare markets. Through its American General, AGLA, VALIC, Western National, SunAmerica, FSC Securities, Royal Alliance, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial brands, it offers a diversified portfolio of life insurance, investment and retirement savings products. AIG Life and Retirement serves over 18 million customers and its products are sold by over 300,000 financial professionals. For more information, please visit www.aig.com/lifeandretirement.
About Age Wave
Age Wave is the nation’s foremost thought leader on population aging and its profound business, social, healthcare, financial, workforce and cultural implications. Under the leadership of Founder/CEO Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of the body, mind, hopes and demands of new generations of maturing consumers and workers and their expectations, attitudes, hopes, and fears regarding retirement. Since its inception in 1986, the firm has provided breakthrough research, compelling presentations, award-winning communications, education and training systems and results-driven marketing and consulting initiatives to over half the Fortune 500. For more information, please visit www.agewave.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at www.aig.com. All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all jurisdictions, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.