Retirement Insights

The Rise of the "Woman of Influence"

In the 2013 Women, Money, and Power Study by Allianz Life, one in five women today can be described as a "Woman of Influence" — someone who plays a more empowered, informed and active role with respect to finances. Yet it might not be the kind of woman you'd expect.

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Despite more financial control, women still fear becoming a "bag lady."

The findings from a question posed in the 2013 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) Women, Money, and Power Study* identified that half of all women (49%) who responded fear becoming broke and homeless — including 27% of those with $200,000+ household incomes.

Those fears persist even though women report feeling more empowered about financial planning than ever before. Of the women who responded, more than half (57%) said they both "have more earning power than ever before" and also "handle major investment decisions and retirement planning."

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Private accounts are essential to solving the retirement challenge

When it comes to the financial challenges of retirement, "most U.S. workers are not ready for what lies ahead. This sad fact keeps government policy-makers as well as older workers awake at night worrying about the future," says Peter Lefkin, Allianz of America's Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs.

In a recent article, Mr. Lefkin lays out the problems facing aging baby boomers still suffering from 401(k) and personal savings account losses caused by the 2008 financial crisis.

Help will not come from the government, he warns. The Social Security and Medicare programs are already showing financial stress, which will only increase in the coming years.

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How secure should you be about Social Security?

Each year, the Social Security Administration makes available a statement that provides you with an estimate of the monthly benefits for which you'll qualify when you begin drawing on Social Security. But no matter how reassuring the numbers look on paper, questions are increasing as to whether these estimates will remain valid.

Simply put, it's a math problem — and it is predicted to only get worse if left unanswered.

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One–third of 'Transition Boomers' unsure about their retirement income needs

It's common to hear people say they're looking forward to retirement, but it's surprising how unprepared many of the people closest to retirement actually are. Though less than ten years from retirement, one–third of Transition BoomersSM (those ages 55 to 65) say they're unsure of how much money they'll need to cover their basic living expenses.

This was a major finding of the 2012 Transition Boomers and Retirement Income Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

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The ABCs of Annuities: Understanding today's annuities

The economic downturn of 2008 caused a major shift in many people's attitudes and finances. Having watched the value of their assets drop suddenly, the possibility of outliving their money has become very real to many baby boomers.

As revealed in the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) 2010 Reclaiming the Future study, boomers are increasingly seeking safety, security, and predictability over growth potential. By nearly a 4 to 1 margin, boomers surveyed are more attracted to guarantees for their retirement savings versus potential high returns with market risk.

In other words, they want what annuities can offer.

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A framework for your retirement income strategies

Retirement planning has traditionally been divided into two phases — the accumulation phase (in which you build your assets) and the income phase (in which you draw on these assets to support your lifestyle).

But what this model neglects is an important transition phase that falls between these two and is roughly five to 10 years before retirement. To help you during this crucial period, when you should be beginning the process of turning your assets into long-term income, Allianz Life has developed a simple model called the "4 C's."

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