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What’s The Price Of Retirement Confidence? Americans Who Have $250,000 Or More In Investable Assets, A Wells Fargo Study Finds

As Americans emerge from the Great Recession, confidence in a future retirement sets in for people who have $250,000 or more in investable assets, according to the latest findings from the Wells Fargo Affluent Retirement Survey (NYSE:WFC), a telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive of 1,800 Americans ages 25-75. While an overwhelming majority (88%) of affluent Americans (n=400 among those with investable assets of $250,000 or more) “feel confident” they will have saved enough for the life they want in retirement, far fewer Americans with less than $250,000 in investable assets (57%) (n=1,400) have confidence in their retirement savings. In this survey, a majority (61%) of the working affluent with $250,000 or more in assets had a household income of less than $150,000.

“What is striking about the ‘affluent’ is that their overwhelming confidence is not from guessing what they’ll need, but from disciplined saving, watching their spending and detailed planning,” said Karen Wimbish, director of Retail Retirement at Wells Fargo.

Affluent Americans Don’t Guess at What They Will Need to Retire

Almost three quarters (71%) of the affluent have a written plan for their finances in retirement compared to only 43% of those with less than $250,000 in assets. Moreover, a majority of the affluent (55%) indicate they used detailed planning and calculations to estimate the percentage of their current household annual income needed to live on in retirement versus about a quarter (24%) of those with less than $250,000 in assets. While a majority of the affluent take a methodical approach to retirement planning, a majority (73%) of Americans with less than $250,000 in assets “guess” the percentage of their current household income needed to support them in retirement.

Further evidence of the confidence among affluent Americans is that a strong majority (61%) say they have “no financial fears” concerning their retirement because they are confident in their planning and preparation, which is about twice the level of those (32%) with less than $250,000 in assets. Conversely, one third (33%) of the affluent “fear doing all the right things today but it still won’t be enough” for retirement compared to half (52%) of those Americans with less than $250,000 in assets. Moreover, while one-quarter (24%) of affluent Americans say they need to significantly cut back spending today in order to save enough for their retirement, half (50%) of those with less than $250,000 in assets indicate they will need to cut back spending.

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