Global Coalition on Aging  

Press Release: 01/31/17

GCOA Commends Transamerica and Aegon for Groundbreaking Retirement Report Focusing on the Self-Employed

NEW YORK (January 31, 2017) – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) congratulates the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) and the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) for the release of their groundbreaking new report, Retirement Preparations in a New Age of Self-Employment. The first-of-its-kind report assesses the retirement outlook of self-employed workers around the world.

The traditional labor market has evolved in recent years, with self-employed workers comprising an ever-increasing percentage of the workforce. This group faces unique challenges when planning for retirement, in particular irregular income streams and a lack of access to employer retirement benefits. Understanding the challenges, attitudes and retirement goals of this growing group presents an increasingly important opportunity for both the private and public sectors. By better understanding the needs of self-employed workers, financial institutions and policymakers can develop new product offerings, programs and policies to help them plan for successful retirement.

Key findings of the new report include:

Retirement Outlook – The self-employed have a flexible vision of retirement. Many expect to retire after the age 65 or never (40 percent globally, 56 percent in the U.S.). More than two-thirds (69 percent globally and in the U.S.) envision a flexible transition to retirement, including:

  • 26 percent globally (29 percent U.S.) expect to change the way that they work (e.g., working part-time or on temporary contracts) before they eventually fully retire;
  • 20 percent globally (17 percent U.S.) will change the way they work and will continue paid work throughout their retirement; and,
  • 23 percent globally and in the U.S. will keep working as they currently do and retirement age won’t make a difference.

Retirement Savings Challenges – The self-employed have unique challenges in terms of retirement planning such as irregular income and a lack of access to employer benefits. For the self-employed, saving and preparing for retirement requires a do-it-yourself approach, which most are not taking:

  • Only about one-in-three (34 percent globally, 36 percent U.S.) always make sure they are saving for retirement; and,
  • Few have a written retirement planning strategy (13 percent globally, 20 percent U.S.).

Based on a survey of 1,600 people across 15 countries, this new report offers a portrait of the self-employed and country-specific fact sheets. Countries featured in the survey include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

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