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The Takeaway: Retirement Pessimism Goes Global


A new survey conducted by Dutch insurance company AEGON shows retirement pessimism extends far beyond American borders. Participants from eight European countries and the United States showed similarly dismal views on their ability to save and plan for retirement securely. Only 15 percent of workers said they are confident they're on the right track with retirement savings; 71 percent believe future generations will be worse-off in retirement than current retirees.

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," said AEGON CEO Alex Wynaendts. The good news is that people in general accept their responsibility in creating the conditions that will provide for a secure and satisfying retirement."

Wynaendts called for "a concerted effort ... to reconsider traditional retirement models," greater flexibility for phased retirement, and updates to current pension systems. "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," he said.

Study respondents came from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the U.S. A majority said they expect to continue working beyond traditional retirement age in some capacity. AEGON claims the traditional "retirement cliff"-in which people went from full-time work to full-time retirement-is disappearing. Fifty-four percent of the current generation of retirees went straight from work into full retirement, but only 30 percent of today's working generation expects to do so.

Thursday Quick Hits:

  • Low interest rates delay retirement. Record lows for savings account and CDs hamper retirement savings plans, according to a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey. "Forty-five percent of non-retired Americans and 34 percent of retirees fear that current low interest rates may cause them to 'outlive' their money in retirement," Wells Fargo said in a statement.
  • Alzheimer's study subjects needed. The largest Alzheimer's disease research initiative in the U.S., known as ADNI, needs more volunteers, ranging from "people who have full-blown Alzheimer's" to cognitively normal volunteers.
  • Help managing medical care. Twenty-six states have asked the federal government to let them operate managed care programs for seniors, disabled people and "dual eligibles" -- those receiving both Medicare and Medicaid benefits -- who need help organizing doctor's appointments, prescriptions and other medical care.
  • Three new films for Fonda. In Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, opening this week, Jane Fonda plays an aging hippie whose conservative daughter comes back home; in upcoming French film ...And If We All Lived Together, she's one of five old friends who move in together as an alternative to a retirement home; and this fall, she'll start shooting The Butler, in which she plays Nancy Reagan.

Photo: the Agency Collection/Getty Images

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