For the five years LIMRA and Life Happens have conducted the Insurance Barometer study, consumers have been asked to list their main financial concerns. Every year the top response is “Having enough money for a comfortable retirement.”
In the 2015 study, when asked why this was their top concern, nearly half (48 percent) of Americans said they worried that the overall state of the economy would affect their finances in retirement. These are legitimate concerns. Market volatility, low interest rates, inflation all can erode a person’s retirement assets. In addition, the possibility of increased taxes, cuts in Social Security and/or Medicare are worrisome - and all outside of a consumer’s control.
A 2012 LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research study revealed similar results. In the study, consumers identified public policy issues, such as increases in taxes and Medicare costs, or cuts in Social Security as their chief risks in retirement. In both instances consumers expressed the most worry about things outside of their control.
The reality is many Americans simply have not saved enough for retirement. LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute estimates that individuals could live upwards of 30 years in retirement. With 7 in 10 pre-retirees reporting that their social security and pensions will not cover their basic living expenses, it is concerning that more than half of Boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement and more than a third have less than $25,000 saved for retirement
In the Barometer study, other consumer concerns touched on not saving or planning enough for retirement and not owning any products that will generate a guaranteed income.
With these responses, consumers acknowledge they haven’t planned enough for a secure financial future, but given the right advice and products, they can change that outcome. The opportunity for the industry and advisors is to educate consumers on where to put their focus. Instead of worrying about public policy matters, consumers can use solid counsel and solutions to affect their financial security today and into the future.