Words from the wise

Jun 24, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Emily Yang

If middle-income retirees could travel back in time, their top priority would be to save for retirement early on — and learn about being smarter with their money.

According to a study commissioned by Bankers Life and Casualty Co., when retirees 55 to 75 were asked what financial advice they would give younger people about retirement, 93% said they should start saving as early as possible. That's followed by recommendations that younger people contribute to retirement plans available at work (84%), plan more (61%), invest conservatively (39%) and hire a professional adviser (37%). Almost a third would suggest living frugally and 22% advised to work as long as possible.

As for the most important life lessons they would impart, 39% said saving for the future is the most crucial, followed closely by “being happy” and “living life to the fullest.”

When asked what topics they wish they knew more about, “making your money last” topped the list. A quarter said they are looking for information on investments and guidance on how to maximize returns.

The retirees also wanted more guidance on health insurance and Medicare, followed by travel deals, and Social Security.

“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. “Whether it's saving more, making sound investments or speaking with a professional adviser, the importance of planning for the future can't be overestimated.”

The online survey of 300 retirees with an annual household income between $25,000 and $75,000 was conducted in April by The Blackstone Group LP.

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