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Survey: Fewer people expect to stop working at retirement age

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By Sophie Baker, Crain News Service

NEW YORK (May 29, 2014) — A phased, flexible retirement is now the reality for the majority of employees, with 32 percent of respondents to a survey by Aegon Group expecting to stop work completely at retirement age.

The survey, which questioned employees in 15 countries and is the third-annual survey by Aegon, found that there is still a strong need for people to save for retirement.

The aggregate Retirement Readiness index score—a measure of how well participant expectations of retirement are likely to be fulfilled—of the 14,400 full-time employees surveyed was 5.8 out of 10, an improvement on last year’s 4.89 and on 2012’s 5.19 score. Employees from emerging markets scored highest, with India at 7 out of 10, followed by Brazil with 6.8 and China at 6.2. At the bottom of the pack was Japan, at 4.6.

However, despite the improved score, Aegon found that people remain unsure that they will have what they consider a comfortable retirement.

Only 19 percent of respondents were “very” or “extremely” confident that they could retire with a comfortable lifestyle, while 34 percent are pessimistic about having enough money to live on once they leave the workplace.

Europe was particularly low on the confidence figures, with just 6 percent in France being very or extremely confident of a comfortable retirement, and 4 percent in Poland.

Participants are also worried that they will suffer a less comfortable retirement than current retirees, with Europe and North America particularly concerned.

The report recommended that making retirement planning easier is the key to combating these concerns and will encourage more saving.

There was also support among employees for automatic enrollment—63 percent of participants said the prospect is “appealing.”

The survey was conducted in January and February in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and covered 16,000 employees and retirees in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, U.K. and U.S.

This report appeared in Crain’s Pensions & Investments magazine, a New York City-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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