Saturday, July 2, 2011

CHICAGO (February 7, 2011) - Many middle-income Americans not utilizing professional retirement advice mistakenly assume they can plan on their own, don't have enough assets to warrant an advisor, or can't afford to pay an advisor's fees, a new study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR) reveals.

The CSR's Middle-Income Retirement Preparedness Study found that, of the 54 percent of survey respondents that aren't receiving professional guidance, 47 percent of the respondents said that they could plan for retirement on their own, without the help of an advisor, even though they feel that the tasks associated with retirement planning are complex and overwhelming.

"Many people set aside too little time for planning," said Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer. "The study found that while those who worked without the help of an advisor enjoy planning on their own, 63 percent devote less than one hour a month to retirement planning and over 36 percent spend no time at all."

Two-fifths of middle-income Americans without an advisor didn't think that they had enough assets to warrant professional help, but they were uncertain as to how much was "enough," and 20 percent said that they didn't know the minimum amount required. The remaining respondents felt that, on average, at least $200,000 in assets was required to secure an advisor's services.

In reality, 10 out of 10 national financial and insurance firms contacted by the CSR indicated that they would discuss retirement planning with anyone having as little as $2,500 or less.

Misunderstandings were also found when it came to the accessibility and cost of professional advice. Twenty-three percent of respondents felt they wouldn't be able to afford an advisor's services, but 32 percent of the group didn't know how much the services cost. The study notes that many products and services exist for people with virtually any level of income and assets that can make their income last, protect their savings and help them feel more secure in retirement.

"It's these misconceptions that are preventing people from getting the retirement guidance they may need," said Perry. "We encourage everyone approaching retirement to put careful thought into their preparations, whether it's spending the time necessary to thoroughly research on their own or working with a trusted advisor to determine a plan that fits their specific needs and gives them a high level of comfort when thinking about their future."

The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement Middle-Income Retirement Preparedness Study was conducted in August of 2010 by the independent research firm The Blackstone Group. The complete report may be viewed at www.CenterForASecureRetirement.com

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 organization. Its studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice for how everyday Americans can achieve financial security duringretirement.

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., offers a broad portfolio of life and health insurance retirement products designed especially for seniors. Visit us online at www.bankers.com


Barbara Ciesemier