Allstate Survey Offers Advice on Keeping Retirement Resolutions

December 14, 2005

Thinking about what New Year’s Resolutions you should consider for 2006?

Allstate Corporation has done some background work that could help you make as well as keep those resolutions.

The Northbrook, Ill. based insurer announced results of it’s fifth annual “Retirement Reality Check” survey. The Allstate survey measures Americans attitudes about saving for retirement and provides some no nonsense strategies that can make you more successful in keeping those resolutions.

The survey asked people what goal is hardest to achieve, and the clear winners were saving for retirement, losing weight and quitting smoking, according to Allstate. The fourth-place goal was staying physically fit.

Allstate created the fifth annual “Retirement Reality Check” survey in conjunction with Mathew Greenwald & Associates. Using a random digit dialing methodology, Greenwald & Associates polled 1,601 people born between 1946 and 1978, with household incomes of $35,000 or more. Retirees were accepted with incomes of at least $20,000. The margin of error (at the 95 percent confidence level) for the total number of respondents in this study is +/-2.5 percent, +/-3.8 percent for information specific to Gen Xers, +/-4.5 percent for Baby Boomers.

The survey questioned respondents about what tactic would be the best first steps to achieve the goal they declared was toughest. Having a goal or plan was first and seeking professional help was mentioned as the second most mentioned strategy.

Allstate pointed to the large numbers of Americans who join smoking-cessation and weight-loss programs as proof that people are willing to seek help to find a plan that works for them. Utilizing the same strategy to begin a savings plan should make it easier for people to achieve retirement goals, Allstate suggested.

The survey suggests that people are more likely to succeed if they set reasonable goals. Instead of seeing the goal only as the whole piece, doing things in smaller manageable steps will allow people to be more successful.

Allstate recommends the following 10 steps to create a retirement savings plan that addresses short- and long-term needs. They are:

Educate yourself on the different savings options available.

Monitor your savings and investments to determine the appropriate investment choices given the time you have left before retirement.

Discuss with your spouse how you want to spend your retirement.

Decide which savings vehicles will help you save more for retirement.

Work with a financial professional to ensure your insurance needs are adequate and keeping up with the changes in your life.

Determine how much money you need to save by the time you retire.

Determine whether you have prepared for life’s unexpected events in your retirement planning.

Educate yourself on how to pay for long-term health care.

Determine how much you will spend each year on your retirement lifestyle.

Estimate how much you will receive in retirement from Social Security and your employer-sponsored retirement plan, if you have one.

Social Security benefits are important too. The Allstate survey showed that respondents are pessimistic about Social Security, with 57 percent saying they have “major concerns” that their benefits will be reduced or even eliminated; 27 percent cited this as a minor concern. Sixteen percent said Social Security is not a concern at all. Two percent of respondents said that drastic changes to Social Security would prompt them to start saving more for retirement.

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