National Retirement Planning Week in full swing with bevy of resources for advisors and consumers

April 3-7 is National Retirement Planning Week 2017, a national effort designed to bring attention to and help consumers focus on their financial needs in retirement.

The National Retirement Planning Coalition (NRPC), a group of prominent education, consumer advocacy and financial services organizations led by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), is supporting the movement with a number of coalition activities throughout the week.

The goal is to promote the importance of comprehensive retirement planning. Despite developing trends that have made planning for and funding retirement more difficult – it is still possible for Americans to “Retire On Your Terms” if comprehensive retirement plans are properly developed and managed.

The NRPW Toolkit makes a variety of resources available that advisors can use to help support and raise awareness this week, including a social media guide, digital toolkit, pertinent retirement statistics, banners and images, a stock news release, sample newsletter and a sample proclamation.

The Retire on Your Terms website includes tools to help Americans develop a plan based on their life stage – student, career-builder, mid-career, late career, and ready for retirement. It also provides information about budgeting, asset management, Social Security, investments, fraud prevention and healthcare.

While Day 1 of NRPW on April 3 featured a media kickoff call and information about consumer insights and behaviors (including a new study about boomer retirement preparedness – see next page), Tuesday’s focus is on challenges women face in retirement. Resources include a free ebook download of IRI President Cathy Weatherford’s book, titled “Women and Wealth: Inspiring Stories from Real Women on the Path to Financial Success.” Another feature today is an infographic (see below) with statistics about family caregivers.Wednesday’s focus is on holistic retirement planning, including a guide to indexed annuities, retirement workshops, a retirement preparation quiz and more. Thursday’s theme is “Reach Your Retirement Goals,” featuring a “9 Annuity Questions” guide and budgeting tools resource.

Long-Term Care Planning takes center stage on Friday, with a Twitter chat at 1 p.m. EDT, the SoA Longevity Illustrator, how AARP is helping with LTC, and more.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 60% of people in the U.S. are saving for retirement, which is another reason the coalition wants Americans to think more about retirement.

Baby Boomers’ challenging retirement math

As part of National Retirement Planning Week, the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) on April 3 released its latest report on the Baby Boomer generation’s expectations and readiness for retirement.

Since IRI’s inaugural Baby Boomer report in 2011, the number of Americans over the age of 65 has risen over 18%. As they move into their pre-retirement and retirement years, most Boomers report insufficient retirement savings, and have not taken appropriate steps to plan effectively for their sunset years. Only 54% of Boomers have any retirement savings, and only four in 10 have tried to calculate how much they need to save to retire.

Unsurprisingly then, only 23% of Boomers believe that their savings will last throughout retirement, or that they have done a good job preparing for retirement. Paradoxically, however, six in 10 Boomers believe their retirement income will cover their basic expenses, with at least some leftover for travel and leisure activities. This disconnect between savings, confidence and expectations could result in many Boomers exhausting their financial resources during retirement.

Those among the Boomer population who work with financial professionals have a much brighter outlook. Eighty-five percent of Baby Boomers who work with financial advisors believe they are better prepared for retirement because of that relationship, and more than 90% of Baby Boomers who work with financial professionals have retirement savings. Further, 75% of those individuals have saved $100,000 or more, compared to less than one-half of those without financial advisors having savings at that level.

“Baby Boomers are not taking full advantage of the resources available to help them achieve a secure and dignified retirement,” IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. “Retirement planning which focuses on holistic strategies, and considers retirement risks such as longevity, health care, long-term care, and lifestyle expectations, is the key to ensuring Boomers’ financial resources will provide income and security for their lifetimes. Financial professionals can help Boomers understand how to use a product they instinctively know they need, but for which they lack an understanding. The 2017 Boomer study reveals that 85% of Baby Boomers believe it is important to have a source of guaranteed lifetime income in addition to Social Security, but only 8% would consider purchasing an annuity. Given that annuities are the only financial product that can provide guaranteed lifetime income, this is a clear knowledge gap that financial professionals can help bridge, increasing retirement security for millions of Americans.”

Key findings from the report include:

• Only 54% of Boomers have retirement savings, the lowest recorded in the seven years of the Boomer report.

• Almost one-third of Boomers think they will need an annual income between $45,000 and $75,000 during retirement, in today’s dollars.

• 6 in 10 Boomers expect Social Security to be a major source of income, the highest recorded in the seven years of the Boomer report.

• Only 4 in 10 Boomers have tried to calculate how much they need to save to retire, and of these only 6 in 10 included estimates of health care costs in their calculations.

• Only 23% of Boomers believe they will have enough money to last throughout retirement, and that they have done a good job preparing for retirement.

• 6 in 10 Boomers believe their retirement income will be sufficient to cover basic expenses, and afford them at least some budget for travel and leisure.

• More than 8 in 10 Baby Boomers underestimate the percentage of their income which may be needed for health care costs.

• 85% say it is somewhat important or very important to have a source of guaranteed lifetime income other than Social Security, but only 8% say they would purchase an annuity providing guaranteed lifetime income.

Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2017 is based on a survey of 800 Americans aged 54 to 70. Data is weighted by age and gender to the 2015 American Community Survey. Data was collected from January 25 through January 30, 2017. The margin of error for the sample of 800 was ± 3.5%. This report was released during a conference call marking the opening of National Retirement Planning Week (NRPW). The NRPW annual campaign highlights national efforts to educate American consumers on comprehensive retirement planning.