State Street Global Advisors’ Retirement Confidence Survey Highlights Global Differences in Participants’ Financial Wellbeing

Financial Wellness Index Tracks Participants’ Perceptions of Stress, Control, Debt, Health Costs and Retirement Savings

BOSTON--()--State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT), today released findings of its fourth annual global retirement confidence survey. The survey found that confidence remained relatively stable in 2016, and is higher than what was reported in 2013. Respondents in the US report the highest confidence with more than half of respondents reporting that they feel they are on track to meet their retirement goals. Confidence is less strong in the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) and the United Kingdom (UK) with respondents reporting confidence at 22 percent and 36 percent respectively.

This year SSGA introduced a financial wellness index to the survey to assess a broader picture of a participants’ financial life, including insights into the sufficiency of their financial resources to meet their needs and obligations, the manageability of their debt, overall sense of financial stress and their ability to deal with financial emergencies.

“The introduction of the wellness index gives us a more complete view into participants’ perceptions and feelings about their financial life. While confidence can provide a signal of an employee’s perceived retirement future, the wellness index gives us a picture of their life today,” said Fredrik Axsater, global head of SSGA Defined Contribution.

US respondents report greater financial wellness scores with 46 percent showing high financial wellness compared to 33 percent of respondents in the UK and 13 percent of respondents in Ireland.


2016 SSGA Wellness Index Results

                  US                 UK                 Ireland
High                 46%                 33%                 13%
Medium-High                 26%                 31%                 24%
Medium-Low                 20%                 25%                 36%
Low                 8%                 11%                 27%

“The good news is that employees’ reported confidence in their ability to retire remains higher than a few years ago. However, we believe it is important to look beyond reported confidence and have a broader understanding about how employees feel today about their financial lives. In fact, the wellness index scores appear to be a more powerful driver of behavior than one’s financial literacy,” Axsater continued.

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of participants feel more financially stable: The majority of US and UK respondents feel more financially stable; however, employees in Ireland feel less in control and sometimes run low on money.
    • I rarely or never need to borrow money to make ends meet (75% US, 70%UK, 56% Ireland)
    • I can afford a good standard of living for my family (75% US, 72% UK, 54% Ireland)
    • I am saving enough for my retirement (52% US, 45% UK, 28% Ireland)
    • I don’t feel like I’m in control of my financial situation (16% US, 16% UK, 25% Ireland)
    • I don’t feel secure with my employment at my existing firm (15% US, 21% UK, 29% Ireland)
    • I sometimes run low on money to spend on basic necessities (15% US, 15% UK, 25% Ireland)
    • I have an unmanageable amount of debt compared to income (14% US, 9% UK, 17% Ireland)
    • I often have trouble paying my monthly mortgage or rent (7% US, 6% UK, 15% Ireland)
  • US participants are the most satisfied with employer involvement: while all countries showed improvement over 2015 levels, more than half (56 percent) of US respondents are satisfied. Ireland made the greatest stride over the past year, with a 12 percent increase in satisfaction versus 2015.
  • Financial literacy lags: the survey respondents were also tested on their financial literacy based on a widely-accepted quiz comprised of eight basic financial questions. In the US only half got 7-8 questions correct and in the UK and Ireland, the scores were lower 39 percent and 20 percent respectively.

“Employers should view increased satisfaction and stronger financial stability as a sign that retirement readiness is improving,” continued Axsater. “Bringing financial wellness indicators into the picture can help employers focus on additional worries, such as debt management or emergency savings, that may be impacting how employees feel about and prepare for retirement. Seeing the bigger picture can help build a stronger future.”

To learn more, read the full report and see tips for plan sponsors, click here.

About the Retirement Confidence Monitor

The Retirement Confidence Monitor is designed to track changing attitudes and behaviors relative to defined contribution plans. The goal is to compare and rate behaviors of retirement savers that are more and less conducive to successful retirement outcomes in order to provide overall guidance to plan sponsors and advisors. Interviewing took place across several SSGA global markets (US, UK, and Republic of Ireland). This survey was conducted in partnership with TRC Market Research. The Financial Wellness Index was co-created in partnership with Warren Cormier of Boston Research Technologies. Data were collected in May 2016 through 12-minute internet surveys using a panel of 2,817 retirement savers, aged 22 to 70, who were working at least part-time and participated in retirement savings plans/schemes, with a sampling error of +/- 2.97 percent.

About State Street Global Advisors

For nearly four decades, State Street Global Advisors has been committed to helping financial professionals and those who rely on them achieve their investment objectives. We partner with institutions and financial professionals to help them reach their goals through a rigorous, research-driven process spanning both active and index disciplines. We take pride in working closely with our clients to develop precise investment strategies, including our pioneering family of SPDR ETFs. With trillions* in assets under management, our scale and global footprint provide unrivaled access to markets and asset classes, and allow us to deliver expert insights and investment solutions.

State Street Global Advisors is the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.

*Assets under management were $2.3 trillion as of June 30, 2016. AUM reflects approx. $40 billion (as of 6/30/2016) with respect to which State Street Global Markets, LLC (SSGM) serves as marketing agent; SSGM and State Street Global Advisors are affiliated.

Important Information

Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal.

The information provided does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. You should consult your tax and financial advisor.

All material has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. There is no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information and State Street shall have no liability for decisions based on such information. All information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no representation or warranty as to the current accuracy, reliability, or completeness of, nor liability for decisions based on such information and it should be relied on as such.

State Street Corporation, One Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111-2900

(c) 2016 State Street Corporation - All Rights Reserved


Exp. Date: 9/30/2017


State Street Corporation
Andrew Hopkins, +1 617-664-2422


State Street Corporation
Andrew Hopkins, +1 617-664-2422