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Ameriprise Study Says Consumers Confident About Retirement Yet Financial Readiness Remains Stagnent

Five years after the onset of the financial crisis, retirement confidence for Americans appears to be rising with the strengthening economy. According to the New Retirement Mindscape ® 2013 City Pulse index, an annual retirement readiness index released today by Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), two in five (42%) Americans report feeling on track for retirement – significantly more than those who felt this way last year (only 37%), and in any other year since the index began in 2010. However, financial preparation for this milestone is still subpar, and pending healthcare changes are weighing on the minds of many of these consumers.

The study examines the 30 largest U.S. metropolitan areas to determine where consumers are the most prepared for and confident about retirement. The index has also served as a barometer for national and local retirement trends. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (#1) and Detroit (#2), along with Hartford-New Haven (#3), claimed the top three spots as the most ready for retirement on the fourth-annual index while Orlando (#30), Los Angeles (#29) and Nashville (#28) ranked as the least retirement-ready. Metropolitan areas are scored based on responses to a national survey that measure consumers’ likelihood to have determined the amount of money they need to save for retirement and their actual saving habits. The index also takes into account the attitudes and level of confidence locals express about this milestone. The study was conducted online by Harris Interactive in June among 10,045 U.S. retired and non-retired adults ages 40-75.

“Feeling confident about retirement is essential, but perhaps not as important as taking steps to financially prepare for that retirement,” says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial. “Positive feelings supported by strong savings habits and careful planning are something to be proud of. But if the latter isn’t in place, a sense of confidence may be unwarranted and can cause a dangerous feeling of complacency.” To hear more insights from Suzanna de Baca about the study results, visit our youtube.com channel.

Morale is high but doesn’t reflect increased preparation

The large majority of Americans are smiling when they think about retirement. More of these Americans than ever (67%) say that retirement makes them feel emotionally positive. They most commonly report feeling happy (47%), optimistic (38%) and hopeful (34%). Seventeen percent even say retirement makes them feel empowered.

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