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Healthy lifestyle positive for retirement planning

June 7, 2017

Preparing for a successful retirement requires focus on good financial habits, and a healthy lifestyle.

Aegon 2017 Retirement Readiness SurveyHowever, there is an alarming disconnect between people's good intentions and their actions, according to a global report by the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR).

"We have been conducting research on people's attitudes and readiness for retirement since 2012. Our research shows that people hope for an active retirement where they stay socially connected, involved in their communities and to continue to work in some capacity," said Mike Mansfield, Manager Retirement research at the ACLR. "An interesting finding is that workers who engage in multiple healthy activities, like exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet, are more ready for retirement than those who do not. Finding ways to develop good savings habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle from an early age are key factors for a successful retirement. Individuals, employers, the retirement industry, and governments, all have a role to play in promoting healthy aging and long-term financial security."

Aegon Insights is assessing what the ACLR's findings mean for the Asia-Pacific market. "It all starts with awareness," said Amy Cheung, Marketing Director, Aegon Insights. "We are now exploring how we can apply the ACRL findings on attitudes to retirement into the design of the customer journey. As part of the insurance industry here in Asia, we have a responsibility to continue testing, learning and rolling out a more customer centric approach on planning for future needs."

Key findings

Key findings from the Successful Retirement – Healthy Aging and Financial Security report include:

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  • Globally, only 39 percent of workers describe themselves as habitual savers (i.e., they say they are "always" saving for retirement). Twenty-four percent are occasional savers, 19 percent are aspiring savers, 12 percent are past savers, and six percent are non-savers.
  • Only 14 percent of workers have a written plan for retirement. This group is significantly more likely to turn their good intentions into actions. Seventy-four percent say they are always saving for retirement, which is well above those with an unwritten plan (48 percent) or those with no plan at all (19 percent).
  • Sixty-eight percent of people describe their health as "good" or "excellent" and 82 percent of people say their health in older age is a concern. Yet only 43 percent say they think about long-term health when making lifestyle choices.
  • Fifty-seven percent of workers envision continuing some form of work in retirement. The harsh reality, however, is that 39 percent of retirees retired sooner than planned, with 29 percent of them doing so due to ill-health.
  • Ninety-one percent of workers say they would be interested in at least one health- and wellness-related offering by their employer (e.g., healthy food at the office, gym discounts, or preventative screenings and vaccinations).

In 2017, the global Aegon Retirement Readiness Index reached 5.92. While still a 'low level' of preparedness, it represents a slight improvement since 2016. The report, the result of Aegon's sixth Annual Retirement Readiness Survey, draws on findings from workers and retirees from 15 countries spanning Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia.

OECD Forum 2017 LogoThe new report is a joint effort of the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, and nonprofits Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon.

Aegon is proud to be a bronze sponsor of the OECD Forum 2017 and shared key findings from this report in Paris on June 6.