Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are You Planning For Your Retirement Or Are You A Retirement Ostrich?

OstrichImage by Ginger Me via FlickrIn an age of faltering retirement plans and a Social Security system that is becoming insolvent, American are waking up to a new paradigm. In the old days, your savings, Social Security, and a part time job was all you needed. Today, some Americans don't give their retirement a lot of thought. They are dependent on Social Security and don't worry. They don't pay attention to their retirement because they think Social Security will always be there to take care of them.

When you feel someone is going to take care of you, you lose the ability or need to take care of yourself. A survey sponsored by ING, reveals that 55% of Americans do not know how to achieve their retirement goal.

Americans are realizing the fact that they are responsible and accountable for providing for their retirement. The stakes are higher today, retirees are facing a perfect storm of a faltering retirement systems, rising prices, a world recession, and global instability. We can no longer bury are heads in the sand any more.

According to a survey by HSBC, there are four categories of financial preparedness:

  • Disengaged non-planners (35 per cent of the population) who are doing nothing, with the primary reason being a belief that they lack the necessary income.
  • Advice-seeking non-planners (25 per cent) do not have a plan but do take occasional financial advice.
  • Self-guided planners (13 per cent) have a plan in place but do not seek professional advice. Tend to be younger, mid to high income and internet savvy.
  • Advice-seeking planners (26 per cent) have a plan and take professional advice to help manage their finances.

The worse off and most in need of help is the "Disengaged non-planners". They definitely believe they lack the money to prepare for retirement. They live paycheck to paycheck and are on a collision course with their retirement years. For them most of their working life is concerned for the present day. By choice or lack of money they will never attain a comfortable retirement.

The "Advice-seeking non-planners" are a lot better off. They are doing something for their retirement and do take financial advice. They have retirement accounts, though smaller than needed, it is still a good start. This group is able to improve their situation and address their future needs.

The "Self-guided planners" have a plan but do things on their own without professional advice. They are more aware of their future retirement needs and are taking action. They do their own investment planning and educate themselves to the financial world.

The "Advice-seeking planners" have a plan and seek professional help to help implement it. This group is the best of the 4 groups because they have the money, knowledge, and professional help to succeed.

If you are one of those that know they need to plan and save for retirement, yet are not turning this knowledge into action, you are part of the "Ostrich Generation". People need to look around and take stock of what they need to do; they can no longer rely on the state or their employers to provide for them. It's all part of taking resposibility for yourself.

The ING survey also reveals that 48% of non-planners associate retirement with financial hardship. While 23% of planners say this is a concern. Peace of mind is a side effect of proper retirement planning


  1. I believe I fall under "self-guided planners" although sometimes I think about retirement too much! I would really like to retire earlier than 70 so that I can be healthy enough to really enjoy it. At least we are on our way, as we have a sizeable 401k, and at least 15 years to add to it...It would be so much larger if I could just stop spending all this money on these kids...:)!

    P.S. LOVE your list of people turning 50 this year...it looks like I'm in good company!

  2. Sharon, I thought that most people who did plan for the future were self-guided planners. I was wrong. I did get a professional to look at my plan and I got some good ideas that I never would of come across if I didn't go. If you haven't gotten any pro advice, at least go once to for a pros opinion.

  3. It would probably be very nice to have everyone fall into the fourth group, but that's just not going to happen. However, at least having an idea of what to do is a very good start. for a good resource, try looking at http://www.mutualfundstore.com/planning-and-retirement. Good luck!


Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics