Atlanta’s New Retirement: Not Retiring

Merrill Edge® Report Questions Whether or Not Retirement Is Near Extinction, Explores Residents’ Ideas Toward Retirement Savings

Friday, December 2, 2016 9:00 am EST

The majority (74 percent) of today’s Atlanta labor force expects they will continue to work during retirement, whether for income, to keep busy or pursue a passion. This is a stark contrast to the 90 percent of area retirees, who are not currently working or never have during their golden years.

The latest Merrill Edge® Report – a biannual survey of 1,000 mass affluent Americans1, which oversampled 300 Atlanta residents between September 24 and October 5, 2016 – reveals a twist in how today’s younger generations will plan and save for their later years. Twenty-seven percent of area respondents believe they need to take on a side job to reach their retirement goals.

“We are seeing a shift in how Atlanta residents are thinking about retirement and planning for their later years,” said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge at Bank of America. “Although many have savings insecurities and are unsure of how much money they are even going to need to achieve their goals, they shouldn’t hesitate to start a long-term plan, so they can take advantage of saving over time.”

Growing uncertainty and insecurity around savings

In line with the national findings, the report also reveals many Atlanta residents are unable to articulate their “magic number” – the amount of money they need to live their desired retirement and those who can, are underestimating the amount. 

When asked what their magic number for retirement is, 59 percent don’t anticipate needing more than $1 million, and 12 percent simply “don’t know.” Approximately two-thirds of today’s retirees said they did not have a number in mind before they retired.

What’s more, 25 percent of respondents cite they need to win the lottery in order to reach their financial goals in retirement.

Increasing self-reliance with investment decisions

Despite this uncertainty, Atlanta respondents still prefer to rely on themselves for their investment approach (64 percent), and only 26 percent believe they need to hire a financial advisor in order to live the retirement they want.

When asked why they are saving for retirement, many area residents cite to afford daily life (63 percent) and take care of family (52 percent).

For more in-depth information about the financial behaviors and priorities of mass affluent Americans, read the full Fall 2016 Merrill Edge Report here. A complementing infographic is available here.


1 Merrill Edge Survey Methodology
Braun Research, Inc. conducted a nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Merrill Edge. The survey was conducted from September 24, 2016 through October 5, 2016, and consisted of 1,045 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S., defined as individuals with investable assets (value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stock, bonds and all other types of investments excluding primary home and other real estate investments). Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 35-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in the following markets: San Francisco; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Dallas; New Jersey; South Florida; Chicago; Atlanta; and Phoenix. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent for the national sample and about +/- 5.7 percent for the oversample markets, all reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

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