When it comes to active financial saving, just 35% of employees around the world consider retirement a priority, according to a new study by consumer watchdog Nielsen.
Regionally, North America and Asia-Pacific respondents report being the most involved in saving for retirement, with interest at 39%. However, only 32% of respondents in Latin America, 30% of respondents in the Middle East and Africa, and 26% of respondents in Europe say they are actively saving for retirement. In fact, 40% of respondents in Europe say they have no expectations for saving for retirement at all, above the global average of 22%.
The difference in public and private retirement benefit programs gives context to retirement saving sentiment reported by consumers around the world, says Oliver Rust, senior vice president of global financial services for Nielsen. When Americans retire, public-issued retirement benefits are typically much less than the amount they earned while they were employed; by comparison, Europeans rely on a greater share of their income. But that is changing in some European markets where mandatory employer pension plans are put in place in order to replace government plans in the longer term. Now more than ever, a greater reliance on private savings is needed to compensate.
Overall, respondents feel confident that they can meet their financial goals. The survey finds that 69% of respondents anticipate reaching their goals. Still, more planning is necessary as only 28% of those respondents say their current planning levels will get them there. Another 41% of respondents report that they need to follow their investments periodically to keep on track. Meanwhile, 31% of respondents say they are not confident they will reach their financial goals.
Preparing for ones financial future has implications that go beyond personal needs, Rust says. Particularly in mature economies, there are growing concerns about reliance on government to support expenses, such as retirement, health care and education, as growing numbers of the population enter retirement age. Understanding consumer sentiment on the saving strategies used to fund financial goals provides insight into how consumers are responding to the challenge of ensuring financial security.
Other financial priorities include saving for health issues at 42% and saving for unexpected household emergencies at 41%. Saving for health issues is most common in Asia-Pacific where 55% of respondents are actively putting away money as opposed to 38% in Latin America and 41% in the Middle East and Africa. North Americans and Europeans save for health issues at even lower rates of 33% and 24%, respectively.
Funding for health care is a significant issue among consumers in many developing countries where assistance from health plans or government sources are not heavily relied upon or available, Rust says. These consumers are taking their health seriously and arent hesitating to take the necessary means to reach the next level of financial security. Theyre actively investing at a higher rate, diversifying their investments to create more predictable outcomes, and focusing on achieving them sooner rather than later.
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