People are pessimistic about the future state of retirement, according to the first AEGON Retirement Survey.
Of the 9,000 respondents to the survey, in eight European countries and the U.S., 71 percent who are still working said that future generations will be worse off in retirement than current retirees—reversing the long-established notion that each generation helps pave the way for subsequent generations to enjoy a higher standard of living.
More than two-thirds of respondents accept that they bear principal responsibility for their retirement security, but only 15 percent are confident they are on the right course to achieve the retirement income they need.
Most respondents support increased taxes, reduced benefits (or both) to ensure the viability of government sponsored pension systems. At the same time, nearly half of the respondents do not support raising the age of retirement, even as people are living longer, healthier lives. However, a clear majority of respondents expect to continue working in some form past traditional retirement age.
"People in general are enjoying longer, healthier lives, and yet their readiness for a longer retirement is considerably less than that of previous generations of retirees. A concerted effort is needed to reconsider traditional retirement models and provide greater flexibility for phased retirement,” said AEGON CEO Alex Wynaendts. “If current pension systems are not adapted to the new realities of longer life spans and declining government and employer funding, the burdens placed on society will be a source of even greater economic and societal turmoil in the future. The good news is that people in general accept their responsibility in creating the conditions that will provide for a secure and satisfying retirement."
The survey found that more people plan to put off retirement. Fifty-four percent of the current generation of retirees went straight from work into full retirement, but only 30 percent of the current working generation expects to be able to do the same.
The AEGON survey, developed in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies – a nonprofit, private foundation in the United States dedicated to conducting research and educating the public on retirement security trends – and Cicero Consulting, a leading public policy and communications consulting firm providing independent market research to the financial services sector, was conducted with the aim of understanding prevailing attitudes about retirement in the future and to determine the levels of financial readiness that currently exist among today's working generation.