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Many investors are lowering their expectations for their retirement lifestyle -- but even those somewhat diminished plans could be at risk because of key information gaps regarding retirement’s realities combined with insufficient focus on planning, according to findings released today from the latest BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) Investor Watch™ survey.

More than four in 10 (42 percent) of non-retired investors say they have lowered their expectations for the kind of lifestyle they will have in retirement. Half of investors say either they have pushed their date back to retire later (15 percent) or are unsure regarding when they will retire (35 percent).

At the same time, many investors continue to misunderstand or underestimate both the financial and demographic realities of retirement, and they also make retirement planning a relatively low priority.

Just 51 percent of non-retired investors agree (and only 10 percent strongly agree) that they know how much to save to cover the lifespan of their full retirement. More than one-third (37 percent) say they are not confident that they will achieve the annual income they need for the time they expect to be in retirement.

About one in three expect to spend less than 15 years in retirement – despite the fact that a healthy couple aged 65 in the U.S. today has a 50 percent chance that at least one of them will live to the age of 92.* Assuming retirement at age 65, that translates into 27 years of retirement.

“It’s common for investors to underestimate how much money they will need to cover themselves for their life when retired,” says Frank Porcelli, head of BlackRock’s U.S. Retail Business.

“Retirement today is not a single life stage and the new reality is that it could cover a 25-year period or longer during which time an individual’s needs, goals and risk tolerance are likely to change.”

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