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Financial confidence low across Europe – retirement planning weighs on minds

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A survey conducted by Swiss Life in Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom and published in November 2018 found that only 46% of respondents feel confident about their current financial situation.

The differences in the individual countries are huge: 65% of Swiss respondents said they feel comfortable with their finances and only 27% feel financially stressed. By contrast, financial confidence in Austria (48%), Germany (44%) and the UK (41%) is much lower; in France it is as low as 32%. At the same time, 53% of French people feel stressed by their financial situation.

When asked about the reasons for the stress, respondents revealed the uncertainty of not having enough money in old age. Only 32% have limited confidence in state pension systems, and 30% of respondents listed their own health as a concern.

The survey indicates that:

  • People are worried that they do not have enough money when they get old. Nearly a third of respondents have only limited confidence in state pension systems.
  • Three in four respondents see themselves as having an obligation to provide for old age.
  • More than 80% are willing to adapt their current lifestyle in order to be able to maintain the desired standard of living in old age. Half would be willing to save more, and 40% are willing to retire later.
  • Millennials are particularly skeptical: Nearly three-quarters of the younger generation have no idea of how to plan for their own finances in old age. One-third of respondents do not know who to turn to when it comes to questions about finance.

Three-quarters of the respondents considered themselves responsible for old-age provision, with the highest proportion (86%) in Switzerland with Great Britain (78%), France (71%), Germany (70%), and Austria (69%) close behind.

44% blame the state for lack of retirement provisions; however, 48% of respondents believe that they will have enough financial resources as a result of a retirement provision.

To ensure the desired standard of living in old age, all generations indicate they are ready to adapt to the current lifestyle and provide more by saving more (52%), retiring later (40%) and investing in savings (36%).

Swiss Life has published an infographic illustrating the main takeaways from the survey (PDF download).

The LINK Institute carried out the survey from 5-13 April 2018. A total of 4,157 persons, from Switzerland (838), Germany (830), France (830), Austria (829) and the United Kingdom (830) aged between 18 and 79, were asked to answer questions on the subject online. Each national group of respondents was composed of equal parts of each of the following generations: Millennials (18 to 35-year-olds), Generation X (36 to 50-year-olds), Babyboomers (51 to 65-year-olds) and Veterans (66 to 79-year-olds). According to the LINK Institute, the study is representative.

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