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Affording a good retirement… is it a fading dream?

by Amanda Martin , 25.09.2015

One of the questions that we recently asked people was, “How strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement: ‘I am confident that I will have enough money to live the life I want when I retire’?”

The answer that came back was that less than half of us believe we will be able to afford the retirement we want, a quarter are in the neutral middle ground and almost three in ten lack confidence in having enough money for the life they want when they retire.

What’s of note is that the highest confidence is found among the 20-29 year olds, where nearly a half (48 percent) indicate that they have either somewhat or complete confidence in affording the retirement they want. This then drops slightly to 45 percent for those aged 30-39 – and then drops considerably to just over a third (36 percent) among 40-49 and 50-59 year-olds. This snapshot suggests that, as people get closer to retirement age, they become increasingly pessimistic (or should that be realistic?) about how far their money will stretch when they are retired.

Americans and Chinese lead for complete confidence in affording a good retirement

Looking at individual countries, it is people in the USA, China, Russia and Spain who are most confident in having enough money to live the life they want in retirement. People in Sweden, Poland and France, by contrast, have the highest proportions lacking confidence. The trend appears to be towards countries that have traditionally provided state-funded pensions – as many of the European countries do – actually having lower levels of confidence than countries such as the USA, where there has been no state provided pension.

At first that sounds counter-intuitive. But the suggestion is that people in Europe are now realizing that the aging population means that state-funded pensions can no longer be relied upon to support them comfortably in retirement. Conversely, people in countries like the USA have grown up from the start knowing that they will have to fund their own retirement by themselves - and so they are in a better and more confident mind-set than their newly awakened European counterparts.

If you are interested in finding out more, you are welcome to download our free charts showing the international and country-by-country findings.

About the study

GfK conducted an online survey with over 23,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 19 countries. Fieldwork was carried out over the summer in 2015 and the data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population age 15+ in each market. The markets included in this press release are Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and USA.