Disconnected: Reality vs. Perception in Retirement Planning

The widespread lack of forward-looking planning has vexed retirement planners and researchers for many years. Many problems in later years could have been prevented with planning ahead. Too many people put off making important decisions, only to find themselves later in a serious crisis with limited options.

Our research shows a wide gap between the perceptions that pre-retirees and retirees have regarding many important retirement decisions and the financial realities that they face. Our reports explore and identify interventions and messaging that can be used by practitioners and researchers to help close this gap, by encouraging people to anticipate future challenges and be proactive to address these challenges.

The target audience for the project includes anybody who is involved with helping pre-retirees and retirees make retirement decisions: financial institutions, retirement advisors, human resources departments, organizations that serve seniors, researchers, media outlets, and individual pre-retirees and retirees.

Our research includes these phases:

  • In-depth interviews with 21 academic and industry experts
  • A review of the research literature that is relevant to retirement decision-making
  • A custom survey of 2,000 U.S retirees and pre-retirees from the ages of 50 to 74, conducted by Greenwald & Associates
  • Interviews of 11 pre-retirees and 10 retirees conducted by Greenwald & Associates

We have organized this robust body of work as follows:

  • Disconnected: Perception vs. Reality in Retirement Planning is our primary report that synthesizes and summarizes the findings from our research. Read more
  • The Retirement Planning Disconnect: Deep Dive provides more details from the survey and includes qualitative insights on the strategies discussed in our primary report based on our interviews with experts and interviews with the pre-retirees and retirees. Read more
  • Leveraging Psychological Science to Motivate Retirement Planning is our literature review of research on decision-making with a focus on the transition to retirement. Read more
  • The Retirement Planning Disconnect summarizes the statistical results from the survey of 2,000 U.S. retirees and pre-retirees conducted by Greenwald & Associates. Read more