ING U.S. Study Sheds Light on Peer Comparison and the Retirement 'State of Savings' in America
According to new research1 from the ING Retirement Research Institute, more than half (52%) of the respondents in an ING U.S. consumer survey said they would be motivated to save more for retirement if their nest eggs didn’t measure up to those of their peers. Additionally, better than one-quarter (27%) confirmed that the size of their retirement account was an important attribute for benchmarking themselves against others—more significant than their material possessions (17%) and salary (16%).
The urge to compare didn’t stop in their golden years, either. Study results showed that nearly two-out-of-ten people (19%) already in retirement still want to “keep up with the Joneses” when it comes to their quality of life and financial independence.
These findings support a growing trend noted by ING U.S. over the past three years through its pioneering, web-based peer comparison tool, INGCompareMe.com. The tool, available to the public at no cost, allows users to compare themselves to others on a wide range of saving, spending, investing, debt and personal finance matters. Users create an anonymous profile by entering some basic information. They can also select categories such as hobbies, interests and where they live to align even more closely with their peer set.
“From restaurant reviews to healthcare referrals, consumers are increasingly scanning the social landscape for peer information and validation,” noted Patrick Kennedy, chief marketing officer for ING U.S. Retirement. “This is also true for personal finance matters, such as saving for retirement. People are curious to know how they stack up to their counterparts, and a tool like INGCompareMe.com can provide a helpful benchmark. The data we collect can also be used to identify savings patterns and trends that support our broader goal of helping Americans retire in the manner they expect and deserve.”
Since debuting in 2009, the INGCompareMe.com site has received over 1.8 million visitors. Approximately 60,000 users answered a combination of questions that captured their state of residence, their annual household income, the amount they’ve saved for retirement and the amount they anticipate needing to live a comfortable retirement.
Mapping Out the Retirement ‘State of Savings’ in America
Leveraging this data from its peer comparison tool, ING U.S. developed the ING State of Savings interactive map, available at INGStateofSavings.com. This map provides a state-by-state scan and ranking of how Americans say they are saving across the country, applying two different formulas.
One formula measures the average amount that residents of each state have collectively saved for retirement as a percent of their total estimated needs, with adjustments made for age. This metric is referred to as Savings Progress. According to the analysis, the following three states ranked the highest in terms of Savings Progress:
- Hawaii – residents have saved 51% of their estimated needs for retirement.
- New York – residents have saved 49% of their estimated needs for retirement.
- Nevada – residents have saved 48% of their estimated needs for retirement.
A second formula measures the average amount that residents of each state have saved up, as a multiple of their annual household income. This metric is referred to as Savings Score. According to the analysis, the following three states ranked highest in terms of Savings Score:
- New Mexico – residents have saved 4.56 times their annual income.
- Vermont – residents have saved 4.35 times their annual income.
- South Carolina – residents have saved 3.78 times their annual income.
Nationally, the average Savings Progress for Americans overall was at 39%, while the Savings Score was 2.42. For a full list of the rankings and to access the interactive map, visit INGStateofSavings.com.
The ING U.S. consumer survey found that over one-third (34%) of Americans believed where they live has a significant impact on their ability to save for retirement. This might help to explain, in part, how well a state fared on the list developed with the web tool data.
"Through this research and analysis, our goal is to offer Americans another thought-provoking benchmark for retirement savings. No matter how high or low a certain state is on this list, what ultimately matters is having a plan in place that meets an individual’s own personalized needs,” added Kennedy. "For most people, retirement today has been fundamentally redefined. As the responsibility to self-fund retirement continues to increase, individuals must find ways to improve their level of financial education, awareness and readiness."
As an industry leader and advocate for retirement education and saving, ING U.S. is committed to gaining greater insights into the various factors that affect how people save for retirement. Through research, studies, tools and work done by the ING Retirement Research Institute, ING U.S. is a resource to help advance the retirement readiness of working Americans. For more information or to try these innovative financial awareness tools, visit INGCompareMe.com or INGStateofSavings.com.
1 Findings are from a phone-based survey conducted by ORC International and commissioned by ING U.S. during the period of September 20 – 23, 2012. Respondents were 1,011 adults 18 years and older. Data were weighted to make the results representative of the overall U.S. population.
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About ING U.S.
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, investment and insurance operations of Netherlands-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING U.S. family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, including retirement plans, IRA rollovers and transfers, stable value, institutional investment management, mutual funds, alternative investments, life insurance, employee benefits, fixed and indexed annuities and financial planning. ING U.S. holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.