Investors are lowering their expectations for their retirement lifestyles, but is that enough? Not according to a new survey from BlackRock.
According to BlackRock's findings, four in 10 investors have lowered their expectations for retirement. Even so, investors still underestimate how much money they will need for retirement and how dire their need to save sufficiently now.
The research, which surveyed 671 investors with $250,000 or more in investable assets, found that 42% of non-retired investors have lowered their expectations for retirement. But only 51% of non-retired investors know how much they need to save to cover their post-retirement living costs.
Meanwhile, one in three investors expect to spend 15 years in retirement, despite the fact among healthy couples aged 65, there is now a 50% chance that at least one of them will live to the age of 92. That's 27 years in retirement.
Also, 37% of investors lack the confidence that they can build up sufficient retirement savings. Consequently, 15% of investors plan to retire later, while 35% are unsure when they will retire.
"It's understandable that investors are not paying as much attention to retirement as they ought to, given today's market uncertainty in addition to questions about how much they will need, how long they will live or where to invest," said Frank Porcelli, head of BlackRock’s U.S. retail business, in a press release today.
"But investors don't have to lower expectations for life after retirement."
Fortunately, investors may still be able to meet their retirement goals with a little extra education, especially given that they seem to understand how important equities are for building retirement savings. A whopping 81% of investors listed stocks as the most important retirement investment vehicle, followed by bonds (60%), cash (57%) and annuities.
Though investors are seeking a broader range of income-generating asset classes, four in 10 investors are still very risk-averse in their retirement investing overall. In addition, while 63% of investors believe they are familiar with income-generating investments, most investors could not correctly identify which types of investments are, in fact, income-generating. These investment options include municipal bonds, government bonds, money market funds and corporate bonds.
However, 61% of investors were able to identify dividend paying stocks as income generating. 24% of investors said they plan to increase their porfolio allocation to dividend-producing equities over the next six months.
"Fund flow data tell us that most investors are underweight equities and overweight traditional core bond holdings and cash,” Porcelli said. “With interest rates at historical lows and the risk of inflation, investors need to protect and grow their money with investments that span asset classes and geographies.”
Retirement is also not as much of a priority as it should be. Investors reported that in 2011, they spent 20% of their time planning for retirement, versus 29% on exercising at the gym and 30% on planning vacations.