Americans want fast advice on retirement

In-depth discussion on long-term financial goals with a qualified financial advisor would help most Americans save enough for retirement, but most prefer not to do it, according to a new global report from HSBC, The Future of Retirement: The Power of Planning.

The report found that four in 10 U.S. respondents surveyed said they would prefer spending just 30 minutes with a financial professional looking at immediate, rather than future, needs.

The report explores changing attitudes toward retirement and financial planning in 17 countries around the world. Most people are not interested in extended meetings with their financial advisors. Only one in 10 prefer longer meetings, and 17 percent would like more than one appointment to review their goals and financial plan.

Twenty-nine percent of people in the U.S. search the Web looking for information on financial products.

“It’s surprising that people aren’t willing to invest more than 30 minutes in taking professional advice to prepare for the rest of their lives,” said Patrick Cozza, regional head of insurance for HSBC North America. “We would encourage people to start doing something without delay, no matter how small and it’s important that people also set aside enough time for quality, expert advice.”

Younger Americans say they don’t have time to sit down and devise financial plans, with 12 percent of those in their 30s saying they don’t have time to seek advice.

The report offered five steps for building a financial plan:

  • Establish clear goals, both short term and long term
  • Benchmark yourself against your goals
  • Develop a comprehensive financial plan, ideally with expert advice
  • Implement the plan
  • Keep your plan under review, especially after important life events

The report found that Americans with financial plans have 2.2 times more than the U.S. average in their pension pot while non-planners have less than half. Those Americans with plans have accumulated on average $127,000 in their savings and investments for retirement, compared to the average U.S. household of $56,000. Non-planners have around $23,000.

HSBC’s The Future of Retirement program is an independent study into global retirement trends. It provides insights into the key issues associated with aging populations and increasing life expectancy around the world. The 2011 report, The Power of Planning, is the sixth in the series and is based on interviews with more than 17,000 people in 17 countries.

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide and is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.

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