workers confident - but not well-informed - about
retirement income, according to AXA's Global Retirement
NEW YORK, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Did you know
that more than 7,900 Baby Boomers are turning 60 years
old every day -- more than 330 an hour? Yet with record
numbers of Americans entering retirement, only one in
five workers actually knows what his or her specific
retirement income will be. And although Social Security
is a significant income element for retirees, more than
90 percent of current workers view Social Security as
"troubled" or "in crisis."
These are among the findings released today from the AXA
Equitable Retirement Scope, a global survey on
retirement. The survey offers surprising consumer
insights on work, life, money and retirement from more
than 6,900 people in 11 countries.
American workers' confidence in their retirement income
may stem from observing their parents.
retirees report on average $4,243 in monthly income --
the highest amount of any country in the study; nearly
double the Canadians and well ahead of France, Japan and
Despite this confidence, most American workers are
concerned about the source of income in retirement, as
92 percent believe our current Social Security program
is in some degree of trouble. Retired respondents agree,
but to a lesser extent: 84 percent have lost faith in
the program, even though 70 percent rely on Social
Security and pension plans "heavily" for retirement
Consequently, nearly 65 percent of America's working
respondents plan to rely on their own retirement savings
or income sources rather than Social Security or
pensions, the survey finds. High expectations for
retirement income may influence U.S. workers' hopes to
continue working in retirement, as 63 percent of those
surveyed desire to hold a paid job once retired.
Other key findings include:
* Americans lead the world in preparing for their
retirement. Nearly 85 percent of working Americans have
already started planning for retirement, leading all
nations. On average, the American worker starts saving
at age 30 and sets aside $1,253 monthly for retirement,
a figure that more than doubles retirement savings in
all other surveyed nations. However, the median amount
is $463 monthly, also significantly more than the median
amount in the other surveyed nations.
* Nearly half of retirees surveyed have invested in real
estate. Home ownership is high among retirees in the
U.S.: 91 percent own theirhomes, 15 percent own two.
* Nineteen percent of U.S. workers expect retirement
income to be higher than their last salary, an optimism
that trumps all other surveyed nations. Retirement
income has increased for 20 percent of U.S. retirees,
well above that of Australia and the U.K., both tying
for second, each with 14 percent of retirees
experiencing similar good fortune.
On average, people would like to retire before 60 years
old but realize it's not likely to happen. Working
people consider 55 the ideal age for retirement but
don't expect to retire until 62; retirees would retire
at age 59 if they could do it again. On average,
Canadians and Americans retire earliest; nearly three
out of four American retirees did so before age 65.
* Retirement travel isn't all that U.S. workers hope.
Nearly 60 percent identify travel as a top priority in
retirement, but only 31 percent of retirees value travel
as much. American retirees travel more than their
foreign counterparts, but rarely leave the country.
* Americans plan to spend retirement savings, not pass
them on to heirs. Sixty-four percent of working
Americans expect to spend their savings in retirement;
only a third expect to maintain savings and pass them to
surviving family members. French respondents are most
generous with their inheritance; it's the only
population in which more than half of workers plan
to pass retirement savings on to heirs. Even more (71
percent) of French retirees are doing the same.
"Overall, our survey findings suggest that Americans are
confident -- but realistic -- about the financial
outlook for retirement," said Ken Gelman, Vice President
and Director of Market Research for New York-based AXA
Equitable, which represents AXA in the U.S. "Respondents
expressed a fair amount of optimism about their incomes
and living standards in retirement, but they seem to
understand that much preparation and planning are
necessary to achieve these goals."
The survey is part of AXA's continued effort to enhance
its understanding of the issues, perceptions, concerns
and wishes surrounding retirement, for the ongoing
development of innovative financial and retirement
planning services. Both workers and retirees were
surveyed about their financial preparations, quality of
life and views on retirement.
Gelman added, "Retirement is becoming reality for a
rapidly increasing number of Americans. The more we know
about their perceptions, the better equipped we are to
help them approach this life chapter with confidence,
leveraging opportunities for managing, growing and
protecting their assets. AXA Retirement Scope
illustrates that Americans are acutely aware of the need
for intense preparation and supports our strategy to
provide advice and solutions to secure their financial
AXA contracted with research firm GFK Sofema, which
managed the survey globally. Local firms fielded the
questions in each country during August 2005. AC Nielsen
conducted the survey by telephone in the U.S.
A total of 6,915 people between 25 and 75 years old were
interviewed in: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France,
Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom
and the United States. The main sample from the U.S.
included 848 people, 435 of whom were working and 413
were retired. In addition, AXA boosted sample sizes in
Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and New York to
gain specific information on these influential markets.
These additional respondents were not included in the