Despite the efforts of the retirement industry, many boomers haven't taken to the variety of savings products available, according to several studies.

While the majority are invested in company 401(k)s, only half have an IRA account outside of work accounts and roughly 30% are invested in separate mutual funds, according to the latest study from Transamerica's Center for Retirement Studies.

What's hampering boomers from putting more money into a range of retirement savings products, says Brian Evans, chief investment officer at Everett, Wa.-based Madrona Financial, are a series of misconceptions, heightened by the volatility experienced in the market this year.

[Image credit: Bloomberg]
[Image credit: Bloomberg]

"This is where fear of volatility causes someone to play it safe and stay out of equities," Evans says.

"Markets do go up over time. I remember the excitement at work one day hearing the Dow actually crossed over 2000! Without compounded growth, most retirement portfolio plans are doomed to failure. With proper planning, we place our clients into ETF portfolios with risk aversion and growth potential."

According to Transamerica, 81% of boomers it surveyed participate in 401(k)s when available to them, and 64% of are saving for retirement outside their employer sponsored plans. But most choose to put their money into retirement savings accounts - just 18% invested in annuities outside of employer plan savings.

Those boomers are missing out on a better sense of financial well-being, according to D.C.-based Insured Retirement Institute, noting in its study last year that across various measures of retirement preparedness, boomers who owned annuities scored far higher than those who had not invested in them.

However, volatility in the economy was taking its toll. The institute's study of boomer attitudes found that 19% of working boomers had stopped contributing to a retirement account, and 24% of boomers postponed plans to retire in the last 12 months.

As a result managers should consider seeking equities funds with dividends that can offer reliable sources of yield and employing a strategy to manage downside risk, says Sean O' Hara, president of Pacer ETFs Distributors.

"If you look at the last six bear markets, a simple trend following signal could have eliminated many of the substantial downside movements."

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Suleman Din

Suleman Din

Suleman Din is technology editor of American Banker and Financial Planning. Follow him on Twitter at @sulemandn.