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Are richer Americans overlooking retirement needs?

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Mike Mayberry and Roger Annin
Are richer Americans overlooking retirement needs?
Are richer Americans overlooking retirement needs?

Millions of Americans are struggling to accumulate retirement savings to where they need to be to adequately prepare for their post-career lives. What most people don't realize is that this struggle extends even to affluent workers. As such, it might be wise for annuity issuers to connect with more affluent consumers to help them increase their retirement security while simultaneously generating more business.

A report from Life Health Pro, quoting a recent poll from Schwab, found that while about 80 percent of investors have a retirement plan and feel confident in their abilities to ease into their post-career lives comfortably, most are set to fall well short of their current income levels once they stop working. On average, those who responded to the poll said that they planned to stop working at age 67 years and expected to live until they were 86. While that's only a period of 19 years, the average investor believes they will be able to live off their retirement savings for about 21 years.

But more problematically, the poll showed people expect they will only need about $66,000 per year during retirement. This amount is more than a 43 percent reduction from their current average salaries of $115,000. Further, 53 percent said their chief concern about their ability to retire comfortably at a desired age relates to unexpected expenses, such as emergency related medical bills.

Some plan to make up the income differences by continuing to work through retirement. Forty-six percent said they believe they might do so "part-time" just to keep busy and despite the fact that they don't think they'll actually need the money. On the other hand, 39 percent indicated they don't plan to work at all, while 10 percent said they will have to work just to make ends meet in their everyday lives.

Companies that offer annuities may be able to help retirees structure their incomes to remove certain risks and to provide a surety of continuing income. However, it may take an educational effort with both affluent and less affluent individuals to show the ways in which these investment vehicles can offer a guaranteed level of income.

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