Are Atlanta's Baby Boomers Ready to Enter Their Golden Years?

November 18, 2003 Atlanta Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

Survey results released this week by ING U.S. Financial Services reveal that while Atlanta’s baby boomers are optimistic about their financial stability in retirement, many are confused by financial planning and don’t spend much, if any, time on preparing for their financial future.

The survey, which was designed to gauge respondents’ perceived levels of and confidence in financial preparedness, revealed that while half of Atlanta’s baby boomers felt confident that they have financial and retirement planning under control, the remainder found financial planning concepts confusing and hard to understand, or did not even think about financial and retirement planning at all. On average, Atlantans who participated in the survey said they only spend about three hours on financial planning activities – such as checking their existing investment portfolios and talking with a professional advisor – in a typical month.

"While I applaud those Atlantans that are taking control of their financial future, it is concerning that such a large number do not know what steps to take to prepare for their retirement years," said Tom McInerney, CEO of ING U.S. Financial Services. "People are living longer and are realizing that they will probably need to work longer than their parents did in order to be ready for retirement."

Retirement Planning

Almost one-third of Atlanta adults surveyed are more optimistic that they will be financially better off in retirement than they are now compared to the national survey, where only 23 percent said they will be financially better off in retirement.

  • Among Atlanta adults, the younger segment (35-44) is more optimistic that they will be better off than the older group (45-55) (40 percent vs. 24 percent).
    Almost 60 percent of Atlanta adults said they would be more prepared for retirement than their parents were.
  • Almost 60 percent of Atlanta adults said they would be more prepared for retirement than their parents were.

"In the past 20 years or so, financial preparedness has become increasingly important," said McInerney. "Atlantans, along with people nationwide, are starting to understand that planning is necessary, and that alone puts them in a better position than their parents."

Seeking Advice

Overwhelmingly, Atlanta adults and adults within the national survey say they would consult a professional advisor for reliable advice and information on retirement planning decisions. However, Atlanta adults appear more likely to do so (83 percent vs. 74 percent).

Additionally, Atlanta adults appear more likely to consult an accountant (61 percent vs. 52 percent). However, Atlanta adults appear less likely to consult friends or family members (48 percent vs. 56 percent).
Seventy percent of Atlanta adults say they have actually consulted a professional financial advisor.

Additional findings from the survey include

  • Atlanta adults would like to retire at the average age of 53.6, but don’t expect to be financially secure enough to retire until the average age of 59.6.
  • More than half (57 percent) of Atlanta’s baby boomers gave themselves grades of either an “A” or “B” in terms of preparing for retirement, while 43 percent gave themselves a grade of “C” or lower.
  • Early preparation and investing wisely are cited as the most common reasons for feeling prepared.
  • Of those who rated themselves as average or below average (“C,” “D,” or “F”), the main reason they feel they are not well prepared is that they “did not start planning early enough.”
  • Almost half (46 percent) of Atlantans surveyed expect their 401(k) or employer-sponsored retirement plan will be their largest source of income.

More than half of Atlanta adults and adults within the national survey believe the stock market will increase in some degree over the next year. Only a small percentage of adults within both surveys believe it will decrease.

Survey Methodology

Two-hundred metro Atlanta adults between the ages of 35 and 55, with household incomes between $50,000 and $125,000, participated in the survey. This is a follow-up to a national survey conducted in July 2003. The margin of error for a sample of 200 is +/- 7.1% at the 95% confidence level. This survey was conducted on behalf of ING by KRC Research in October 2003, and is a follow-up to a national survey conducted in July 2003. The national survey of 500 respondents included people ages 35 through 55 with annual household incomes between $50,000 and $125,000. The margin of error was +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level.

About ING

ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING) is one of the largest integrated financial services companies in the world, providing insurance, banking, and asset management products. The company strives to provide an innovative, client-focused approach to its financial products and services through strategic global distribution channels. In the U.S., ING families of companies offer a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients that includes retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, life insurance, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. Currently, ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. Globally, ING serves over 65 million private, corporate, and institutional clients throughout 60 countries. For more information, visit


: Caroline Campbell, ING
Phone: (770) 618-3801