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Majority of People Globally are Worried about Outliving their Money at Retirement, Accenture Survey Finds

July 25, 2012
Majority of People Globally are Worried about Outliving their Money at Retirement, Accenture Survey Finds
 
Only about one in six people confident their current level of savings is sufficient to cover post-retirement financial needs
 
More than half don’t know how to prepare for retirement
 
Nearly half turn to friends and family for retirement advice, ahead of life insurers and banks
 
NEW YORK; July 25, 2012 – More than four out of five people (82 percent) are worried about their financial situation after retirement and almost nine in ten people (89 percent) say it is important for them to start saving now, according to a global Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of more than 8,000 people from 15 countries. 
 
The survey also reveals that more than half (53 percent) of the respondents believe they lack the necessary information to prepare for retirement and the financial capacity (57 percent of respondents) to invest in private pension.
 
Concerns about retirement planning are widespread
  • Only about one in six people (16 percent) is confident their current level of savings is sufficient to cover their financial needs after retirement.
  • While a large majority (93 percent) recognize that they will need to rely partly or wholly on their personal savings to cover their post-retirement financial needs, more than two-thirds (67 percent) don’t know how much they would need to save to guarantee their standard of living in retirement.
  • Less than one-third (29 percent) have private investments aimed specifically at addressing their retirement needs (in addition to any employer or public pension funds from which they may benefit).
 
“The strong common global concerns about post-retirement financial security are alarming,” said Mark A. Halverson, a managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services group. “In the current economic environment, people are increasingly worried about their financial future. They are willing to save money but have limited financial knowledge and limited saving abilities to actually do so. These findings reveal a major unmet demand for retirement planning that industry professionals can help address. However, they will need to shape their products and services in a way that will help people take action and better prepare their future.”
 
Professional advisors such as life insurers are not perceived as an obvious source of information and advice on retirement investment
  • People are more likely to ask independent financial advisors (mentioned by 51 percent of respondents) and friends and family (44 percent) for advice on the best retirement options, than to rely on insurers (41 percent) and banks (39 percent).
  • The majority (86 percent) of respondents say they have limited or no knowledge of retirement products that life insurers offer.
  • Almost half (45 percent) say they have never received simple and easy to understand retirement planning information from any life insurer, and one-fifth (20 percent) state they have never been contacted by any life insurer to discuss retirement issues.
“As people internalize their individual responsibility for retirement funding, they are faced with a confusing array of products representing a myriad of risk-adjusted returns,” said Mark A. Halverson. “This leads to the point that the need for advice has perhaps never been higher. Life insurers are traditionally viewed as important players in this market and could potentially fill this advice gap but as the survey shows, they are not viewed as credible in offering unbiased advice.”
 
“They need to do a better job of educating and relating to their current and potential customers and seeking new interactive ways to provide them with the advice people ultimately need: how to arrange their finances to make these products affordable. They will have to create simple, cost-effective retirement products – ideally, with the ability for customers to switch products if their circumstances change or they find they have chosen the wrong one.”
 
Consumers want clear and personalized advice and services
  • 86 percent said they would be motivated to purchase a retirement product from a provider that would offer them clear comparisons between several investment options highlighting the “pros” and “cons” of each of these options.
  • 82 percent would want to have a clear understanding of what their financial needs would be after retirement, and a clear illustration of projected financial value of each investment option.
  • 84 percent of respondents said they would pay attention to comments provided on social media by customers regarding their experience with retirement products providers.
 
“A great burden of responsibility lies with the life insurance industry to step up and fill this advice gap as it has the experience, size and scale to make a real impact on the retirement problem,” said Daniele Presutti, global managing director of Accenture Life Insurance Services. “Industry leadership needs to confront this critical issue and take action to address it. It is an opportunity not only for life insurers to grow their business but also to help avert what could potentially become a major social issue on a global scale in the next 10 to 20 years.”
 
Highlights of geographical differences
  • Compared to the global average of 82 percent, Britons, Germans, Australians and Americans are the most optimistic with 65 percent, 66 percent, 69 percent and 70 percent of respondents respectively who say they are worried about their financial situation after retirement. South Koreans (95 percent), Mexicans (92 percent), Russians (92 percent) and Spanish (91 percent) are the most pessimistic.
  • Indians, Chinese and Americans are the most confident about their current level of savings with 39 percent, 28 percent and 21 percent respectively believing that they are saving enough for their retirement, compared to the global average of 16 percent. Russians (4 percent), Japanese (5 percent) and South Koreans (8 percent) are the least confident.
  • Indians and Chinese also appear to have a good understanding of and access to information on the different retirement planning options, with only 14 percent of Chinese and 36 percent of Indians believing they don’t have the necessary information to prepare for retirement, compared to the global average of 53 percent.
  • Indians (68 percent) and Chinese (61 percent) are also more confident about knowing how much they need to save every month to guarantee their standard of living at retirement, compared to the global average of 33 percent.
  • Almost all Indians (99 percent), Mexicans (98 percent) and South Koreans (96 percent) say it is important for them to start saving now, while they are only 79 percent of Germans, 81 percent of Britons and 83 percent of French to say so.
  • People in the developing economies are much more conscious of the brand of the financial institution that manages their retirement products, with an overwhelming majority of respondents in China (99 percent), Brazil (97 percent), India (96 percent), South Korea (94 percent), Poland (93 percent), Mexico (91 percent) and Russia (90 percent) saying brand is important in their retirement product selection criteria. While less than half (49 percent) of Germans, and only 58 percent of Britons say brand is important in their selection.
 
 
Methodology
Accenture commissioned a survey of 8,112 individuals between 25 and 60 years old in 15 countries. Respondents were representative of the population in gender, age and income. The survey was conducted by phone in March 2012. The 8,112 respondents included 1,000 from the U.S., 539 from South Korea, 529 from Mexico, 520 from Poland, 508 from Spain, 506 from Italy, 503 from Brazil, 502 each from France, Germany and Russia, 501 from the UK, and 500 each from Australia, China, India and Japan.
 
About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 249,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.  Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.  The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011.  Its home page is www.accenture.com.
 
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Francois Luu
Accenture
+ 33 6 60 53 84 28
 
Sean Conway
Accenture
+ 917 452 6444
 
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