As financial markets continue to fluctuate and place retirement portfolios at risk, non-retired Americans are showing a clear desire for guaranteed income in retirement according to a survey by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

When asked to rate several factors that would help ensure a more secure retirement, 86% preferred "having a guaranteed stream of income in retirement," while 71% chose "having a 401(k)/403(b)/457 plan." The survey was conducted in September with 1,000 respondents.

When asked to rate their own personal needs, nearly half (47%) of non-retirees rated a guaranteed stream of income as the top retirement need they have yet to acquire in order to feel more secure. This was deemed far more important than the next highest selection: "a job that gives me a 401(k)/403(b)/457 plan" (27%), and more than twice as important as "having a diverse portfolio of investments" (22%).

"Especially in an environment where equity markets, and therefore 401(k) balances, can swing wildly within a week or a day, it is not surprising to see Americans expressing far more interest in the need for guaranteed retirement income versus the balance of their retirement account," says Allianz Life President & CEO Gary C. Bhojwani.

The contrast between a desire for guaranteed income in retirement and the number of non-retirees who actually have some form of guarantees is vastly different. Only 8% of non-retirees say they own an annuity and less than a quarter (18%) have guarantees through a pension. Nearly 40% indicate they own no retirement or investment products of any kind.

"Although the idea of a guaranteed stream of income continues to resonate with Americans, most pre-retirees don't own annuities or are apprehensive about adding one to their retirement plan," says Bhojwani. "The simple fact is that annuities are the only retirement income products that pool risk, and thereby can guarantee that all annuity owners will have income for the rest of their lives, regardless of how long they live."

Furthermore, 26% say they still have no idea what they need to acquire in order to feel their retirement will be secure.

"Our survey results are confirming that Americans want more guarantees in retirement but simply don't know what to do to create financial certainty," says Bhojwani. "More education is clearly needed about annuities and how they can help protect a portion of savings and provide steady, predictable income throughout a person's retirement."

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