AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey Finds Global Outlook for Future Retirement Bleak Without Immediate Action
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The first AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey of 9000 respondents provides key findings:
- Current workers expect to be worse-off in retirement than current retirees
- Awareness of retirement responsibility not translating into action
- Broad support for government pension reform
- Nearly half reject increasing retirement age, despite rising life expectancy
- "Retirement cliff" giving way to phased retirement
Despite the fundamentally positive aspects of living longer, longevity increases have brought greater costs and potential reductions in retirement systems, including government and private pensions. The global economic crisis of recent years and ongoing economic uncertainty and austerity measures have put even greater pressure on these retirement systems and shifted more of the responsibility to individuals to save for their own retirement.
An international survey initiated by AEGON, one of the world's leading providers of retirement security, indicates that there is widespread pessimism about the future state of retirement. Seventy-one percent of respondents still working believe that future generations will be worse-off in retirement than current retirees - reversing the long-established notion that each generation helps pave the way for subsequent generations to enjoy a higher standard of living.
More than two-thirds of the 9000 people surveyed in eight European countries and the United States accept that they bear principal responsibility for their retirement security. However, only 15% are confident that they are on course to achieve the retirement income they need. This is also reflected in the AEGON Retirement Readiness Index that has been developed to measure how prepared people feel about their own retirement in the various countries represented in the report.
Most respondents support increased taxes, reduced benefits (or both) to ensure the viability of government sponsored pension systems. At the same time, nearly half of the respondents do not support raising the age of retirement, even as people are living longer, healthier lives. However, a clear majority of respondents expect to continue working in some form past traditional retirement age.
AEGON CEO Alex Wynaendts said: "People in general are enjoying longer, healthier lives, and yet their readiness for a longer retirement is considerably less than that of previous generations of retirees. A concerted effort is needed to reconsider traditional retirement models and provide greater flexibility for phased retirement. If current pension systems are not adapted to the new realities of longer life spans and declining government and employer funding, the burdens placed on society will be a source of even greater economic and societal turmoil in the future. The good news is that people in general accept their responsibility in creating the conditions that will provide for a secure and satisfying retirement."
The AEGON survey also showed that the traditional "retirement cliff" is disappearing, referring to people going straight from working life into full retirement. Consequently, phased retirement is set to become
the norm as more people expect to continue some kind of work activity past traditional retirement age. Fifty-four percent of the current generation of retirees went straight from work into full retirement, but only 30% of the current working generation expects a similar path. The findings further indicate that "silver entrepreneurs" could become more common as many in this current generation plan to combine activities such as starting their own businesses with leisure pursuits in their advanced years.
Alex Wynaendts: "Advances in longevity and health, combined with a modern approach to retirement, can make this life stage a period of productivity and personal fulfillment. It is in the interests of public policy makers, employers and the financial services industry - working together - to provide the incentives and opportunity for people to achieve the level of financial security that will be required for a longer period
than at any time in history."
The AEGON survey, developed in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® - a non-profit, private foundation in the United States dedicated to conducting research and educating the public on retirement security trends - and Cicero Consulting, a leading public policy and communications consulting firm providing independent market research to the financial services sector, was conducted with the aim of understanding prevailing attitudes about retirement in the future and to determine the levels of financial readiness that currently exist among today's working generation.
To access all information related to the AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey, go to http://www.aegon.com.
Note: The AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey 2012 represents the views of respondents in the following countries: France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management company based in The Hague, AEGON has businesses in over twenty markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. AEGON companies employ over 25,000 people and have nearly
47 million customers across the globe.
Key figures - EUR Q1 2012 Full year 2011 Underlying earnings before tax 425 million 1.5 billion New life sales 445 million 1.8 billion Gross deposits 11.0 billion 32 billion Revenue-generating investments (end of period) 437 billion 424 billion
The statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following are words that identify such forward-looking statements: aim, believe, estimate, target, intend, may, expect, anticipate, predict, project, counting on, plan, continue, want, forecast, goal, should, would, is confident, will, and similar expressions as they relate to AEGON. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. AEGON undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which merely reflect company expectations at the time of writing. Actual results may differ materially from expectations conveyed in forward-looking statements due to changes caused by various risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to the following:
- Changes in general economic conditions, particularly in the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom;
- Changes in the performance of financial markets, including emerging markets, such as with regard to:
- The frequency and severity of defaults by issuers in AEGON's fixed income investment portfolios; and
- The effects of corporate bankruptcies and/or accounting restatements on the financial markets and the resulting decline in the value of equity and debt securities AEGON holds;
- The effects of declining creditworthiness of certain private sector securities and the resulting decline in the value of sovereign exposure that AEGON holds;
- Changes in the performance of AEGON's investment portfolio and decline in ratings of the company's counterparties;
- Consequences of a potential (partial) break-up of the euro;
- The frequency and severity of insured loss events;
- Changes affecting mortality, morbidity, persistence and other factors that may impact the profitability of AEGON's insurance products;
- Reinsurers to whom AEGON has ceded significant underwriting risks may fail to meet their obligations;
- Changes affecting interest rate levels and continuing low or rapidly changing interest rate levels; changes affecting currency exchange rates, in particular the EUR/USD and EUR/GBP exchange rates;
- Changes in the availability of, and costs associated with, liquidity sources such as bank and capital markets funding, as well as conditions in the credit markets in general such as changes in borrower and counterparty creditworthiness;
- Increasing levels of competition in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and emerging markets;
- Changes in laws and regulations, particularly those affecting AEGON's operations, ability to hire and retain key personnel, the products the company sells, and the attractiveness of certain products to its consumers;
- Regulatory changes relating to the insurance industry in the jurisdictions in which AEGON operates;
- Changes in customer behavior and public opinion in general related to, among other things, the type of products also AEGON sells, including legal, regulatory or commercial necessity to meet changing customer expectations;
- Acts of God, acts of terrorism, acts of war and pandemics;
- Changes in the policies of central banks and/or governments;
- Lowering of one or more of AEGON's debt ratings issued by recognized rating organizations and the adverse impact such action may have on the company's ability to raise capital and on its liquidity and financial condition;
- Lowering of one or more of insurer financial strength ratings of AEGON's insurance subsidiaries and the adverse impact such action may have on the premium writings, policy retention, profitability of its insurance subsidiaries and liquidity;
- The effect of the European Union's Solvency II requirements and other regulations in other jurisdictions affecting the capital AEGON is required to maintain;
- Litigation or regulatory action that could require AEGON to pay significant damages or change the way the company does business;
- As AEGON's operations support complex transactions and are highly dependent on the proper functioning of information technology, a computer system failure or security breach may disrupt the company's business, damage its reputation and adversely affect its results of operations, financial condition and cash flows;
- Customer responsiveness to both new products and distribution channels;
- Competitive, legal, regulatory, or tax changes that affect profitability, the distribution cost of or demand for AEGON's products;
- Changes in accounting regulations and policies may affect AEGON's reported results and shareholder's equity;
- The impact of acquisitions and divestitures, restructurings, product withdrawals and other unusual items, including AEGON's ability to integrate acquisitions and to obtain the anticipated results and synergies from acquisitions;
- Catastrophic events, either manmade or by nature, could result in material losses and significantly interrupt AEGON's business; and
- AEGON's failure to achieve anticipated levels of earnings or operational efficiencies as well as other cost saving initiatives.
Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the company are described in the company's filings with NYSE Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this document. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the company's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Willem van den Berg
SOURCE AEGON N.V.