Health Tops Longevity Concerns for Middle-Income Americans

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Declining health is the number one longevity concern for middle-income Americans, nearly four times the concern over inadequate retirement savings (10 percent) or outliving their money (9 percent), the latest study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center For A Secure Retirement  (CSR) reveals.  

The study, Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans surveyed 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000.

Retirement Income Shortfalls
To compensate for the possibility of outliving their savings, here's a look at how middle-income Americans plan to deal with shortfalls in retirement income.

**Reduce spending (63 percent)

**Get a part-time job in retirement (41 percent)

**Sell my house (25 percent)

**Give less money to children/grandchildren (24 percent)

**Don't plan to do anything (15 percent)

The good news is that the majority of today's middle-income Americans are living within their budget. According to the CSR study, seven out of ten (70 percent) report living comfortably within their budget. Only one in ten (9 percent) admit to living beyond their means. 

Use of Common Planning Methods
Four in ten (44 percent) admit that their retirement savings may not last until the end of their life. Yet, when it comes to developing a retirement savings goal, only one-fifth (21 percent) of middle-income retirees and pre-retirees calculated a monthly retirement income goal number; only one in ten (13 percent) determined a total savings goal number to reach.

"Realistically assessing longevity can be a powerful tool in planning for retirement," said Chris Campbell, vice president of marketing and business development at Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer. "Set a clear retirement goal and be realistic about the amount of savings it will take to be able to live the retirement lifestyle you desire."

Retirement Anxiety
The CSR study cites more than half of middle-income Boomers (55 percent) have saved less than $100,000 for retirement.  In light of this reality, it is not surprising that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of middle-income pre-retirees report some level of anxiety about retirement; one in four (28 percent) report being "anxious" or "very anxious."

All of these factors suggest that most middle-income Americans should apply some disciplined planning to overcome these anxieties.  Yet that does not seem to be the case, according to the study.

Methodology
The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement's study Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans was conducted in November 2012 by the independent research firm The Boomer Project.  The full report can be viewed at CenterForASecureRetirement.com.

A nationwide sample of 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 who have an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000 participated in the Internet-based survey. 

Responses were weighted to match US Census data on the selected age segment.  The margin of error was 4.47 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level.