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COUNTRY Financial Security Index

Young Americans, Retirees At Odds Over Retirement

March 19, 2015

Uncertainty looms over young Americans who fear saving enough for a comfortable retirement, but current retirees are largely happy with the choices they’ve made - two thirds of retirees are living their dream retirement, according to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey.

Fear of the unknown

Nearly half of Americans under the age of 30 (49 percent) do not feel in control of determining their retirement date. Among this group, nearly a third (31 percent) say their retirement date is “not at all” in their control.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, reaching a savings goal is the number one concern Americans have regarding their ability to retire, especially among those under the age of 30.
    • About half (49 percent) of Americans feel not saving enough could be the greatest setback on their path to retirement.
    • This number rises to 55 percent for young Americans under the age of 30.

“Fear of the unknown is understandable, younger Americans may be jaded by the slow recession recovery and uncertainty surrounding social security,” said Joe Buhrmann, manager of Financial Security Field Support. “Envisioning your goals and starting to save early, even if it’s a small amount, helps tremendously.”

Retirees’ Keys to Success

According to the majority of retirees, living the retirement dream is achievable. Many envision an early retirement, but waiting correlates with higher retirement satisfaction, perhaps due to the ability to save longer.
    • Those retirees age 65 and older are significantly more likely (79 percent) to say they are living the retirement of their dreams.
    • Early retirees ages 50 – 64, are much less likely (51 percent) to say they’re living their     dream retirement.

Retirees with a higher income are also more likely to say they’re living the retirement of their dreams, although satisfaction does not rise exponentially with income.
    • Among those with a retirement income of $50,000 - $75,000, a large majority (82 percent) are living their ideal retirement.
    • Retirement satisfaction peaks among those with a retirement income over $75,000 but under $100,000, with 91 percent of individuals living the retirement of their dreams in this income group.

Living Your Dream Retirement

Saving and choosing a retirement age are vital retirement-planning steps, but factoring in how long you will live during retirement should also be added to your plan, according to Buhrmann.

The current national average life expectancy is 17 to 18 years after age 65 according to research published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but Americans are both under- and over-estimating their longevity.
    • The majority of Americans (69 percent) anticipate living over 15 years in retirement.
    • However, 26 percent of those under the age of 30 anticipate living 30 years or longer in retirement.

“Your retirement plans includes saving, choosing a realistic age and then predicting how long you will live; all three steps are reliant on each other” said Buhrmann. “No one can predict the future, but having a plan offers you peace of mind and gives you something concrete to build off of.”

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel TM, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,000 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY Financial

The COUNTRY Financial group (www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home, business and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.