Americans expect ambitious returns – unrealistically ambitious – on their investments in order to comfortably fund retirement, according to a survey from Natixis Global Asset Management released today.

Specifically, respondents said an average annual return of 9.8 percent above inflation will be needed to account for income, housing and healthcare expenses throughout retirement.

With inflation averaging 4.2 percent since 1964, that would mean annual returns of 14 percent. Annual gains in the S&P 500 have averaged 10 percent over the past 50 years.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.