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Boomers Eroding Confidence Further Redefines Retirement, Study Reports

CHICAGO, Aug. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Our nation's estimated 76 million baby boomers are still coping with the long-term effects of the 2007 financial crisis as they enter or prepare for retirement.

As the financial crisis cut into their net worth and lowered the value of their homes, boomers' confidence in achieving a personally satisfying retirement dropped significantly, according to a recent study commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement (CSR),"10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered." Today, less than four in 10 (37%) boomers are certain they will have a personally satisfying retirement.

Before the crash, middle-income boomers—those defined with an annual household income between $30,000 and $100,000 and less than $1 million in investable assets—were already contending with a "new retirement" stemming from changes to their retirement programs, as employers shifted away from defined benefit plans such as pensions to defined contribution plans, primarily 401(k) plans.

The study examines how a lack of confidence has changed boomers' attitudes and behaviors about investing and saving, and how they are adapting their expectations to meet the realities of this new retirement. In effect, they are redefining the new retirement.

The study found 28 percent are making more conservative investments, and 26 percent report they no longer invest as a result of weathering the crisis. Further compounding their cautious behaviors, the study found two-thirds are worried about another financial crisis in their lifetime.

Additionally, the boomers surveyed say they have lowered their overall expectations for financial independence in retirement, compared to before the crisis. The study reports that only:

  • 16% expect to have savings
  • 34% expect to retire debt free
  • 19% expect to pay off their mortgage
  • 16% expect to pass an inheritance to heirs

Meanwhile, the proportion of boomers who expect to work full or part-time in retirement has increased from just over a third to nearly one-half since before the crisis.

"Though they've weathered the storm, for many boomers, the new retirement means working longer," said Scott Goldberg, president of Bankers Life. "We see this trend as an opportunity for individuals to enjoy both the financial and emotional benefits of staying employed, even part-time. While the definition of retirement continues to evolve, prudent planning and goal setting can help boomers regain confidence for a satisfying retirement."

"10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered" is part of a series of studies commissioned by the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement. It was conducted in October 2016 by independent research firm The Blackstone Group.

The findings were from one Internet-based survey:

A nationwide sample of 1,000 middle-income Boomers. Quotas were established based on the U.S. Census Current Population Survey data for age, gender and income to obtain a nationally representative sample. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

All respondents were aged 52 to 70 and had an annual household income of between $30,000 and $100,000.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement
The Center for a Secure Retirement is the Bankers Life's research and consumer education program. The Center's studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice to help everyday Americans achieve financial security in retirement.

About Bankers Life
Bankers Life focuses on the insurance needs of middle-income Americans who are near or in retirement. The Bankers Life brand is a part of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), whose companies provide insurance solutions that help protect the health and retirement needs of working Americans and retirees. There are more than 5,000 Bankers Life insurance agents at over 300 offices across the country. To learn more, visit


SOURCE Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement

For further information: Jennifer Born, Bankers Life, Ph: 312-396-7089, Email: