Monday, October 28, 2013

Bank of America survey: Higher percentage of wealthy to delay retirement

The ranks of wealthy Americans planning to delay retirement continue to grow, even though the economy is improving, according to survey findings released Monday by Bank of America.

The Merrill Edge fall 2013 survey, which is based on responses of the "mass affluent," finds that 61 percent plan to retire later than they anticipated, up from 56 percent a year ago and 29 percent two years ago.

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who say they plan to retire earlier than anticipated is lower than two years ago. Only 9 percent fall into that group, compared with 31 percent in fall 2011.

The report defines the "mass affluent" as those with $50,000 to $250,000 in total household investable assets. It's a group that makes up roughly 33 million households in the U.S., the report says.

Among other survey findings, saving for retirement is the No. 1 concern for the wealthy, followed by paying down debt. That's a reversal of a trend during the recession, when getting rid of debt was the biggest priority, followed by saving for retirement.

The report comes after Wells Fargo last week issued results from a study on the retirement outlook for the middle class. According to that report, 59 percent of the middle class said their No. 1 financial concern is paying the bills, up from 52 percent in 2012. Saving for retirement is in second place, with 13 percent saying it's a priority. Four in 10 middle-class Americans said saving and paying the bills at the same time is not possible.

The Merrill Edge survey was conducted Sept. 9-17 and had 1,016 participants. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.