Oakland, California—(February 18, 2009) More than half of affluent 60 year-olds are revamping their retirement plans, double the number who reported making changes a year ago, according to the fourth annual national survey by Bell Investment Advisors of Boomers reaching this milestone age. Of those who have changed their retirement plans in the last six months, two out of three are delaying their retirement, with 34% of these planning to work an additional five or more years. Almost 75% have reduced spending, and nearly half have changed their investments.
More than half (57%) of respondents said they feel more financially stressed than they were six months ago. Three out of four (76%) said they feel less wealthy and more than a third (35%) say they do not have enough to retire. Bell Investment Advisors’ fourth annual Affluent Boomers at 60 Survey of 500 high net-worth 60-year-olds also reveals a loss of confidence in America’s financial system. These Boomers indicated they’ve lost the most confidence in government regulators (34%) and banks and financial institutions (30%).
“It is critical for investors to realize there is no bailout package for retirement,” said Jim Bell, CFP® founder and president of Bell Investment Advisors. “The current economic situation is a wake-up call for investors at 60 to have a clear retirement plan that incorporates a sound investment strategy.”
Of investors surveyed, 54% estimate they will need $1 to $3 million at retirement, but 42% have invested or saved less than $1 million. Among respondents who plan to reduce their spending this year, nearly half (46%) are doing so in order to rebuild their retirement savings. More than half of those boomers who have decided to delay their retirement cite the same reason for adding more working years to their plans (55%).
When it comes to investing, the majority (56%) think the stock market is too risky for people their age. Even more (61%) of those surveyed plan to make a change in their investment strategy this year, with one-third of them planning to invest more in fixed income investments. Half of those investors who intend to change are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude about which direction they will go.
“Merely increasing savings and working longer will not fill the gap for most Boomers approaching retirement,” said Bell. “Recent stock market volatility has many Boomers reconsidering risk, but it’s critical to keep in mind that when you reduce investment risk you also reduce the upside potential to rebuild wealth. Boomers who choose to wait for a market recovery to decide when to reinvest will miss early gains.”
Despite the radical changes this group of boomers is making to their retirement plans, the market downturn of 2008 has not altered their core positive feeling about their lives. Almost all (97%) said they feel great about their life, as they have in the prior four years Bell has sponsored this survey. Looking forward, 73% said they expect the stock market to finish 2009 higher than it started, and 43% said they feel 2009 will be a year where they increase their wealth.
The fourth annual Affluent Boomers at 60 Survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation from January 21 – 29, 2009 (the first week after President Obama’s Inauguration), among a random sample of 514 adults comprised of 259 men and 255 women who were born in 1949 and have investable assets in the $1 million range. The survey is designed to chart a generation of inventors as they reach this milestone birthday before retirement.
Bell Investment Advisors, Inc. offers investment management, comprehensive financial planning, and career/life planning services to help investors plan and achieve their personal and retirement goals. The firm manages more than $360 million for its more than 600 clients. In 2008, Bell Investment Advisors was named one of the Bay Area’s 100 Fastest Growing Privately Held Businesses by the San Francisco Business Times for the fifth consecutive year. To learn more, visit www.bellinvest.com.