What's the current version of a dream retirement? To some, making sure there's enough money to pay for life's necessities. Extreme, perhaps, but a recent international retirement survey from The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. found increasing numbers of people are most concerned about meeting basic needs in retirement.
It's a much gloomier mindset than a year ago, when the top financial concern for people age 45 and older in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany was how to enjoy oneself.
The Hartford's third annual retirement survey polled 6,750 people ages 45 and up in the U.S., U.K, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia. Among U.S. residents, 49.7% say they are worried about being able to meet daily expenses in retirement. The highest number with this concern is in the U.K. with 59.3 %, followed by Germany (56.3%) and Spain (54.1%).
The survey indicates that few people in any country have done financial planning. In Japan, 82.3% said they don't have a financial plan for retirement and one-third said they saw no need for one. Among Americans, 45.4% said they hadn't planned for retirement. And nearly three-quarters of Americans said they were "not too" or "not at all" confident all income sources for retirement will be sufficient.
The amount of people in the developed world who say they do not know who to ask for advice is growing. The number is highest in Japan, which increased to 54.4% for 2008 versus 37.8% in 2006. But the number is also growing in the U.S.-to 27.4% last year versus 19% two years ago.
At the same time, people are afraid to take financial risks. In the U.S., 44.6% say they are 'completely' or 'fairly' risk averse. The highest risk aversion is in Germany with 76.1%.
"Our research tells us that few people are planning for retirement, most lack confidence in their financial acumen and many don't know where to turn to for advice," says Peter Smyth, executive vice president of The Hartford's International Markets.