After the shocks and bumps of the Great Recession, younger baby boomers are already thinking about their retirement plans, and are clear on one thing: When it comes to retirement income, they want guarantees, according Allianz Life Insurance Company of America, which released a study Tuesday.
Almost 84% of younger survey respondents said that the safety of their money mattered more to them than it did a few years ago. With the rapid disappearance of defined benefit programs, a second consecutive year without cost of living adjustments for Social Security recipients, and the stock market ups and downs of 2008 and 2009, respondents do not want to take excessive risks with their money.
That cautious mindset is motivating them to think harder about using annuities in the mix of products for their investment portfolios, according to Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer marketing and solutions for Allianz.
“They know they are going to live longer in retirement and it is about getting this check,” Libbe said. Allianz surveyed 3,275 U.S. adults ranging from 44 to 75 years old for the study, collecting responses online in May.
For advisors, the findings present potential business opportunities for savers and investors in their mid- to late 40s—and tremendous responsibilities, too. Although only 19% of younger baby boomers reported having a financial professional, 41% of that group said they were receptive to hiring one. Almost a quarter of younger baby boomers, 22%, said they were overwhelmed at the thought of having to provide for themselves and their families in retirement. Respondents between ages 44 and 49 had an average mortgage balance of $143,000, compared with those between 50 and 59, who had a balance of $115,000. Also, more than 57% of them said they still had teenagers living at home.
Twenty-nine percent said that they recognized that working with a financial professional could help solve the problem of possibly outliving their retirement assets.
“Don’t assume that someone in their mid-40s is not thinking about their retirement plan,” Libbe said. “They might be the people who show up at a seminar. These are people who probably never had a traditional pension plan, and an annuity might be interesting to them.”
Assuming investors in this age range do engage financial advisors, the mandate is very clear: preserve the assets. A staggering 95% of respondents said it was either important or extremely important that their financial professional help protect a portion of their nest egg. Also, 87% said they want to rely on their financial professional to help them make sure they have adequate guaranteed retirement income.
Survey respondents also gave their opinions about annuity products. Overall, participants admitted that their knowledge about annuities is somewhat dated, and is about 10 years old. About 41% of younger boomers said they had not studied annuities since 10 years ago. However, those respondents that held annuities, about 7%, said they felt they knew annuities well. Also, 80% of younger boomer annuity owners said they were happy with their purchase. Investors in this age group ranked annuities highest in satisfaction among a range of other financial products.
Whether the discussion centers on annuities or other financial products, advisors should understand another important finding from the survey. About 97% of respondents in their late 40s said they thought there was a current retirement crisis in the U.S. The recent market downturn is still very fresh on the minds of younger boomers. “Most feel that they cannot afford for it to happen again,” Libbe said.