Worry and guilt don't work —people need to use visualize old age to be prompted to save forretirement. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Credit creative visualization: When people are asked to imaginehow they'll be living in retirement, they get motivated to save more.

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To determine motivations that drive retirement savings—and tosee if people can be motivated to save more —  a survey from Capital Group conducted anexperiment.

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Half of the survey respondents were asked to envision the livesthey want to lead in their 60s, 70s and 80+ years before figuringout what percent of each paycheck to save in a retirement plan,while the other half were only asked how much they wanted to savefor retirement.

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Survey participants who were asked to picture their retirementyears recommended saving 31 percent more per paycheck in aretirement savings plan on average than the second group ofrespondents.

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For women and millennials in the first group, the result was a40–50 percent positive swing in the average recommended 401(k)savings rate.

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“The financial services industry sometimes accentuates worriesand guilt to get people to pay more attention to planning andsaving for retirement,” Heather Lord, senior vice president andhead of strategy and innovation at Capital Group, said in astatement.

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She added, “Fear doesn't generally work. We believe—and oursurvey shows—that imagining one's later years is a powerfulexercise that helps drive increased average savings per paycheckfor retirement. This insight could contribute to innovativeretirement plan design and behavioral techniques to help Americansbuild bigger nest eggs for retirement.”

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Also according to the survey from Capital Group, justone out of 10 Americans “strongly believe” that traditional modelsof employment and retirement will dominate in the coming years, andrespondents also expect that advancements in health care, tech andtheir own financial situation will let them experience better andmore diverse lifestyles as they age—compared with earliergenerations.

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In fact, 58 percent believe their own retirement will be morepositive than that of their parents and earlier generations.

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Still, 80 percent expect that flexible and part-time jobs willplay a bigger role in supporting retirement savings, and 79 percentfeel that Americans will need more opportunities to work, earn andsave later in life.

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But whether Americans are envisioning a retirement of leisureand freedom or one of continued work, they're expecting to have tosave enough to pay their way, with 73 percent expecting their401(k) and IRA accounts to be among their top three sources offinancial security in retirement years.

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Still, 63 percent of boomers list Social Security as one oftheir top three expected sources of retirement income, compared toonly 32 percent of millennials and 43 percent of GenXers.

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And the younger generation is focused on work, with 18 percentof millennials saying that full-time or part-time work would beimportant for their financial security in retirement; that's twicethe level of boomers (9 percent) and higher than GenXers (14percent).

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But older people are more focused on being financially secure intheir 60s, with 60 percent of boomers expecting that; 54 percentexpect to be doing okay financially in their 80s.

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Younger people, not so much; just 48 percent of millennials andGenXers believe they will be financially secure in their 60s.

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This drops to 41 percent for millennials and 43 percent forGenXers for their 80s and older.

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READ MORE:

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10 tips to boost retirementsavings

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Backup plan needed for retirement savingsstrategy

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Most Americans clueless on how much to save forretirement

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.