AXA Equitable Study Shows New Retirement Reality - People Will Work Longer

One of the Largest Global Retirement Surveys Also Finds People Expect to Come Up Short When They Retire

Dec 16, 2010, 16:18 ET from AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company released today results from its Retirement Reality Study – one of the largest global surveys to poll workers and retirees on numerous financial topics, including their views on and preparations for retirement.

Results from AXA's latest survey show that today's working world anticipates retiring much later than previous generations. The average age of retirees polled around the world is 57 years old. However, current workers anticipate retiring at 61 – a full 4 years later.

In addition to working longer, people in most countries are expecting a lower standard of living in retirement. Globally, 43 percent of workers and 30 percent of retirees believe their retirement income will be insufficient. Working people know they need to prepare for retirement, with 46 percent saying they have started to prepare and an additional 37 percent intending to start later.

"Our survey shows people realize they will be increasingly dependent on personal savings in retirement but aren't ready," said Andrew McMahon, senior executive vice president of AXA Equitable and president of its Financial Protection & Wealth Management business. "Clearly individuals are coming to terms with the reality that they won't be able to retire until many years after they hoped, unless they prepare successfully."

Americans Are Getting It Right at a Younger Age

Americans are among the top nations surveyed to say that they have already started their retirement planning. Among U.S. Workers, 72 percent said they have started saving for retirement, compared with a global average of 46 percent. Not only has a large percentage of Americans started preparing for retirement, they are starting younger than people in other countries. U.S. workers are among the youngest to say that they have started to prepare for retirement; the average age in the U.S. is 31, compared with the worldwide age of 34.

Although Americans seem more prepared than their counterparts in other countries, the anticipated retirement age is still among the highest of any country. The average American anticipates retiring at 64, three years older than the survey average of 61, and six years older than their desired retirement age of 58.

This is the fifth global survey released by AXA Equitable and its parent, AXA Group, and is part of the company's continued effort to enhance its understanding of the retirement issues.

Additional survey findings include:

  • The main triggers to start saving for retirement in the U.S. are:
    • Employer contributions to a defined contribution plan
    • Reaching a key age
    • Advice from family or friends

  • Americans have the most self-reliant view of retirement savings, with 58 percent of those polled, a greater percentage than any other nation surveyed, preferring to fund their retirement savings on their own rather than depend on the government.

  • U.S. workers prefer meeting face-to-face with someone when purchasing an investment.  In addition, 65 percent of workers and 65 percent of retirees have used insurance, financial or other professionals as sources of information to find out about financial products vs. 50 percent among workers and 44 percent among retirees across all countries.

"Because Americans proactively approach retirement planning it's especially important to seek advice from a trusted professional to help them choose the right products for where they are in their lives," said Mr. McMahon.

About the Study

Research firm GfK NOP managed the survey globally for the AXA Group.  Local firms fielded the questions in each country from March 1st to May 25, 2010.

A total of 31,539 people between 25 and 75 years old were interviewed in 26 countries, making it one of the largest studies on retirement in the world. The countries included in the study are: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each country had a minimum sample size of 1,000 people, 500 who are working and 500 who are retired, including the U.S. The error margin for the U.S. results at the 95 percent confidence level is +/-3 percent. To access the entire survey, go to

(Editor's note: Research statistics should be attributed to "AXA Equitable Retirement Reality Study.")

About AXA Equitable

In business since 1859, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation's premier providers of life insurance and annuity products, as well as investment products and services through its affiliates, including, AXA Advisors, LLC. The company's products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, AXA Advisors and to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC.

AXA Equitable, a subsidiary of AXA Financial Inc., is part of the global AXA Group, a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management. "AXA Group" refers to AXA, a French holding company for an international group of insurance and financial services companies together with its direct and indirect consolidated subsidiaries. For more information, visit

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