Retirement confidence is up in the U.S., Ireland and the United Kingdom, according to State Street Global Advisors’ Global Retirement Survey 2015. All three countries experienced an increase in the number of investors who are extremely confident or very confident they will meet their retirement goals.
State Street interviewed investors who participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans in Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States to gauge their feelings about retirement. In the U.S., more than half of in-plan savers said they were extremely or very confident about their retirement readiness, up from 36% last year, the study found. In the UK, 43% were confident compared to 24% in 2014. In Ireland, 27% were confident compared to 17% the prior year.
Sixty-six percent of people who invest in their workplace retirement plan said that the top reason they are confident in their retirement readiness is that they invested appropriately. The majority of investors surveyed, 80%, said that their lack of confidence stems from not saving enough. Fifty-four percent of this group said they know how to plan and set goals.
State Street only has one year of data on Australia but, in 2015, Australian investors contributed higher amounts to their retirement accounts than those in the U.S. However, they were not as confident that they would be able to have a secure retirement. The survey found that Australians save 41% more for retirement than investors in the U.S.
“Australia’s commodities market has been hit hard by a drop in global commodities prices creating uncertainty for retirement savers,” State Street said, which could be why there is such a gap between the amount of money Australians are saving for retirement and their confidence levels.
State Street found that “both knowledge and action are important” when it comes to retirement confidence.
State Street asked respondents where they gleaned the most useful information about saving for retirement. In the U.S., 45% said they used independent resources like websites and advisers for their retirement planning. Only 30% said they received information from their employer and 9% said they received retirement guidance from the government.
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“Since only a small number of workers have relationships with financial advisers, addressing basic topics in the workplace such as financial wellness and income planning in retirement can help boost employee engagement and plan participation,” the report said. “Engagement may lead to higher retirement confidence. And financial wellness may lead to more satisfied and productive employees.”
Investors who received tailored guidance and had savings outside of an employer plan were more confident in their retirement readiness than those who did not seek the help of an outside professional. In the U.S., 59% of self-directed advised respondents said they were extremely or very confident they would meet their retirement goals in 2015. In the United Kingdom that figure was 57%; in Australia, 54%; and Ireland, 45%.
Men in all four countries are more confident than women that they will achieve their retirement goals in 2015.
State Street pointed out that even though wage gaps between genders are narrowing, they still exist around the world.
“A key takeaway for plan sponsors is the opportunity to help both women and men become more informed investors,” the report said. “When organizing workplace retirement engagement programs, having a diversity of viewpoints among women and men about financial matters can be a net positive for everyone involved.”
Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver.
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