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Retirement News

Top Life Advice from Today's Retirees to Tomorrow's: Start Saving ASAP!

‘Not having enough money’ is the biggest surprise for retirees; retirement different than expected, 'shocked' by financial surprises

June 7, 2012 - If America's retirees were in younger people's shoes, it's clear that they would put a priority on saving more and saving early for retirement. In a recent survey of older Americans, 39 percent said saving for the future was the most important piece of advice they would give younger people.

In this recent survey, 300 retirees between ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income between $25,000 and $75,000, were asked a variety of open-ended questions about what they have learned over the past several years and what real-world advice they would give to today's younger generation.

One of these questions was what they considered the most important piece of advice about life that they would give to young people. Thirty-nine percent said saving for the future was the most important - followed distantly by being happy and living life to the fullest.


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Other responses in the survey by Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR) included
   ● planning ahead for retirement,
   ● finding something to do for work that they enjoy,
   ● being responsible for their own life and
   ● expanding their education.

When asked about the biggest piece of financial advice that they would want to pass along to others, 93 percent said it was important to start saving early.

Retirees also urge younger Americans to
   ● contribute to retirement plans available at work (84 percent),
   ● do more planning (61 percent),
   ● invest conservatively (39 percent) and
   ● get professional advice (37 percent).

One third (30 percent) suggest living frugally and one in five (22 percent) recommend that they work as long as they can.

Retirees still want to learn more

Retirees also stressed that there is still a great deal for them to learn. When asked what retirement topics they wish they knew more about, "making your money last" ranked at the top of the list. One in four (25 percent) are looking for information on investments and for guidance on how to maximize returns on retirement savings. "Making the most from savings with the least risk" and "investments for the long term" were common trends voiced by middle-income retirees.

The second most common request was for more information on health insurance and Medicare followed by travel deals, Social Security benefits, and healthy aging.

"With ever increasing longevity and cost of living, it's never been more important for tomorrow's generation to think about how they will be able to live comfortably in retirement," said Chris Campbell vice president of marketing and business development at Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer.

"Whether it's saving more, living frugally, making sound investments or speaking with a professional advisor, the importance of planning for the future can't be overestimated."

Many of today's retirees have been shocked by the financial surprises they have encountered. When asked what has been the biggest financial surprise about being retired, not having enough income tops the list.

Here's a look at the top five most common financial surprises from today's retirees:

1. Not Having Enough Money
"Money doesn't go as far as expected."

2. Adjusting to a Lower Income
"That we could live on such a small budget and be happy."

3. High Cost of Healthcare
"Healthcare costs! This includes doctors, medicine and hospitals."

4. Increasing Prices
"Prices keep going up, but the income stays the same."

5. No Income Increases in the Future
"Knowing you are on a fixed income without being able to get a raise or bonus."

It is these types of surprises that have caused today's retirees to alter some of their preconceived notions about what their golden years would be like.

Many now believe their retirement will be significantly different than expected. In a previous CSR study, two-thirds (67 percent) of middle-income retirees said their retirement experience would be drastically different when compared to previous generations.


The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement's survey series Listening to Middle-Income Americans was conducted in April 2012 by the independent research firm The Blackstone Group. Excerpts from the report can be viewed at

A nationwide sample of 300 retirees ages 55 to 75 who have an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000 participated in the Internet-based survey. Significant sub-sample differences were tested at the 95% confidence levels.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement

The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement is the Company's research and consumer education program. Its studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice for how everyday Americans can achieve financial security during retirement.

Established in 1879 in Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses on the insurance needs of the retirement market. The nationwide company, a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and annuities designed especially for seniors. Visit Bankers online at

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