Retirement Planning Grips 67% of Adults, Ipsos Survey Finds

March 19, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Financial Services | Household Income | Pharma & Healthcare | Youth & Gen X

Americans often think of numbers that reflect their identity, such as their birthday (cited by 26%) or social security number (16%), rather than what they have or aspire to have (5% cited a dollar amount) -?though 67% sometimes or often think about what they need to save or invest for retirement.

That’s according to (pdf) a recent?Ipsos/ING survey?of some 1,000 US adults.

Planning Ahead

Maturity, a college education, and upper income level are strong indicators of likelihood that a person has thought about saving or investing for retirement, the survey found:

  • Some 75% of adults age 35-54 said they think about retirement savings at least sometimes.
  • Those who are college-educated (71%) and those working full-time (75%) are also likely to have considered retirement needs.
  • However, 42% said they do not like thinking about how much they will need for retirement, and nearly as many (39%) said it is boring.

Among Gen Y members (18-32), 34% fully or somewhat agreed that it is too early to be thinking about retirement; the proportion dropped to 24% when including all adults.

Many encounter difficulties in calculating the amount needed for retirement:


  • Some 36% of adults said the best they can do is guess.
  • About half (49%) said figuring it out is not easy and they aren’t sure where to start.
  • In contrast, 35% said it is easy and they are not worried.

Calculation of Needs

Asked which factors they take into account when calculating retirement needs, one-quarter did not cite any factor and just one-third of respondents mentioned more than one factor:

  • Living expenses was the most common?factor cited?- 37% of adults take it into consideration.
  • Others:
    • Life expectancy (noted by 7% of respondents)
    • Assets/owning one’s own home (6%)
    • Health, healthcare costs, and retirement age (5% each)


Retirement Planning Tools

Six in ten adults (63%) think that?an online financial calculator would be useful for retirement planning, and a similar proportion (64%) would find a seminar dealing with retirement issues helpful, Ipsos found.

But one-on-one personal assistance is still the most popular tool/resource for retirement planning:

  • Eight in ten adults said they would like to use a financial advisor.
  • 73% said using an accountant would be helpful.
  • Friends or family is a favored resource for 68% of respondents.


Other Financial Numbers

Other than retirement, adults think very often or sometimes about the following financial matters:

  • Checking account balance (74%)
  • Current amount of savings/investments (72%)
  • Paycheck or Social Security check (70%)
  • Balance due on credit cards, loan or mortgage (57%)

About the survey: The ING-commissioned Ipsos poll was conducted Jan 22-24, 2008 from a randomly selected sample of 1,008 adult Americans; data were weighted so that the demographic composition reflected that of the actual American population according to Census data.

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