Americans Focused on Short-Term Risks When It Comes to Retirement Planning, Franklin Templeton Investments Survey Finds

From Franklin Templeton Investments
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San Mateo, CA, June 5, 2017 – Americans are almost equally as concerned about short-term market volatility (47 percent) as they are about not achieving their long-term retirement investment goals (53 percent), according to Franklin Templeton Investments’ 2017 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey.

Men, however, are more concerned about short-term market volatility (51 percent) compared to women (44 percent), while women are more concerned about not achieving their long-term goals (56 percent) than are men (49 percent).

Across generations, GenXers are least likely to express concern when it comes to short-term market moves (39 percent). Curiously, Millennials, who generally have the longest time horizon when it comes to meeting long-term retirement investment goals, are more preoccupied with short-term risks (47 percent) versus GenXers. Millennials also reflected slightly more concern about not achieving their goals (53 percent) than their Boomer generation counterparts (50 percent), even though they have a lot more time to save.

“The 24-hour news cycle and global uncertainty contribute to an outsized preoccupation with the short term,” said Michael Doshier, vice president of Retirement Marketing at Franklin Templeton Investments. “This year’s RISE survey findings reflect the internal struggle that confronts most Americans who are trying to balance risk tolerance with short- and long-term retirement investment goals—not only for themselves but for their families as well. Retirement planning should be approached holistically with a long-term focus, taking into account both short- and long-term risk tolerance and overall goals in relation to various demographic factors like household size.”

The retirement mosaic

The survey findings underscore the multi-faceted nature of retirement planning. Assessing an individual’s retirement income strategy based just on their own individual needs or their current 401(k) does not always provide the full picture. The foundational elements of any retirement income strategy are highly personal and vary widely depending on individual goals, concerns and perspective. Of the variables impacting an individual’s retirement goals, the survey showed that household make-up often plays a key role in influencing both short- and long-term priorities and overall risk tolerance.

Nearly two thirds of people (62 percent) surveyed consider their household when thinking about retirement, and this jumps to 84 percent if a person is married or living with a partner. Among those with children in the household under age 18, 16 percent of respondents expect financing their children’s education to delay their retirement. Similarly, when it comes to preferences around employer-provided resources, 17 percent of respondents who are employed full-time or part-time with children under 18 in the household are looking for college savings-related tools.

Personal demographics, such as age, also influence retirement savings strategies. For example, Boomers and those in the Silent Generation who have saved for retirement are most likely to use a prior workplace retirement plan (i.e., 401(k)) as the primary source of their income in retirement, with 32 percent and 31 percent indicating so, respectively.

Financial advisors can help

“When it comes to retirement planning, it’s important to get the full picture. A successful retirement income strategy begins with making smart, strategic investment decisions that align with one’s goals and risk tolerance—meaning it’s not necessarily about the number of investments in a portfolio but knowing how to select the right ones and how they work together across multiple 401(k)s and investments,” said Yaqub Ahmed, head of Defined Contribution-U.S. at Franklin Templeton Investments. “We are constantly inundated with information about different investment options, which can be confusing at best and detrimental to a portfolio at worst. That’s where an advisor can help.”

Confidence in one’s ability to successfully invest for retirement increases among those working with a financial advisor compared to those who do not (87 percent and 53 percent, respectively). Similarly, 95 percent of those working with a financial advisor consider them to be important to their retirement planning and to successfully generating retirement income.

When looking at employer-sponsored retirement plans, a mere 40 percent of respondents know, with a high degree of confidence, how much of their current income will be replaced by their retirement plan at work. At the same time, 41 percent of those who currently have a workplace retirement plan funded through salary deduction as part of their retirement savings strategy would like to have more (32 percent) or different (9 percent) investment options available. Men and Millennials are looking for more options (35 percent and 44 percent, respectively) while women and Boomers are looking for fewer (12 percent and 6 percent, respectively).

Additional survey highlights include:

  • While still the number one choice (53 percent), fewer people are willing to retire later if they are unable to retire as planned. In the 2014 RISE1 survey, 62 percent of people indicated this option and it has declined each year.
  • 22 percent of respondents currently working with a financial advisor would be interested in taking on a higher risk growth-oriented investment strategy instead of postponing their retirement.
  • Well over half of men (60 percent) and just less than half of women (47 percent) said they have a strategy to generate income for retirement that could last 30 to 40 years or more.
  • Since 2014, there has been a 64 percent increase in the number of respondents who say their retirement will be better than previous generations.

Retirement planning resources can be found on Franklin Templeton’s website.


The 2017 Franklin Templeton Investments Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey was conducted online among a sample of 2,013 adults comprising 1,009 men and 1,004 women 18 years of age or older. The survey was administered between January 5 and 18, 2017, by ORC International’s Online CARAVAN®. Generational groups are defined as follows: Millennials (ages 18-36), Gen X (ages 37-52), Baby Boomers (ages 53-71), and the Silent Generation (ages 72-90).

About Franklin Templeton Investments

Franklin Templeton Distributors, Inc. (FTDI), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN], a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management to retail, institutional and sovereign wealth clients in over 170 countries. Through specialized teams, the company has expertise across all asset classes — including equity, fixed income, alternative and custom solutions. The company’s more than 650 investment professionals are supported by its integrated, worldwide team of risk management professionals and global trading desk network. With offices in over 30 countries, the California-based company has 70 years of investment experience and approximately $741 billion in assets under management as of April 30, 2017. For more information, please visit

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  1. Source: The 2014 Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey was conducted online among a sample of 2,011 adults comprising 1,008 men and 1,003 women 18 years of age and older. The survey was administered from January 2 to 16, 2014, by ORC International’s Online CARAVAN®.