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Retirement Planning Pushed Aside As People Lower Expectations

People are ditching unrealistic retirement expectations, but are still spending more time planning vacations than working on retirement saving strategies.

According to new findings from BlackRock’s Investor Watch survey, more than 42 percent of investors have lowered their expectations for their lifestyle during retirement. But while more than 15 percent of the investors surveyed have pushed back their retirement date, BlackRock found that many investors continued underestimated realities of retirement.

“It’s common for investors to underestimate how much money they will need to cover themselves for their life when retired,” explained Frank Porcelli, head of BlackRock’s U.S. Retail Business. He added that the survey found that 37 percent of investors said they were not confident they would save enough to have the level of income needed during retirement.

Meanwhile, BlackRock also found that of the almost 700 investors surveyed did not make retirement planning a high priority, spending more time last year planning vacations and going to the gym than planning for retirement.

“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,” Porcelli said.

Yet this lack of planning posed a significant risk, Porcelli warned, especially as the Investor Watch survey found that a third of respondents expected to live only 15 years after retirement, while statistics show that people who retire at 65 are living an average of 27 years following retirement.

“Retirement today is not a single life stage and the new reality is that it could cover a 25-year period or longer during which time an individual’s needs, goals and risk tolerance are likely to change,” Porcelli said.

But Porcelli said that investors didn’t have to always drastically lower expectations for life after retirement. Instead, investors needed to take steps to fully educate themselves about the facts of retirement, ensuring that their savings and investment strategies are the right fit.

Further, the survey found that many investors understood the importance of equities in investing for retirement, but  fund flow data showed that most investors were underweight equities and overweight in traditional core bond holdings and cash.

“The old ways of investing no longer work – and our poll tells us that investors still need plenty of fundamental support and direction in adjusting to a new world,” Porcelli said.

“The good news is that help is available, and new insights and tools are emerging all the time that offer tangible advantage for investors seeking income, inflation-combating growth, and solid investment return in a low-yield, slow-growth world,” he added.

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