Schwab Online Survey Offers Individuals the Chance to Compare Views on Retirement and Benchmark Against Peers and Other Generations

Release of Landmark Study by Charles Schwab and Age Wave Drives Participation in Online Survey; Silent Generation Most Concerned About Outliving Retirement Savings

Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:30 am PDT



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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new online survey tool created by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., has drawn almost 2,000 participants to log in and compare their preparation for and views on retirement and wealth. The site was opened to the public July 15, 2008, in conjunction with the launch of its comprehensive study, Rethinking Retirement: Four American Generations Share Their Views on Lifes Third Act.

Members of the four generations Silent Generation (born between 1924 and 1944), Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976) and Generation Y (born after 1976) have visited the site steadily since it was launched. Of the 1,642 and counting online survey participants, Boomers had the highest representation, accounting for more than 45 percent of participants, followed by Generation X (28 percent), Generation Y (18 percent) and the Silent Generation (10 percent).

The Rethinking Retirement study was a unique opportunity to hear whats on the minds of four different generations as it relates to retirement, said Andy Gill, senior vice president, investor services. We heard some interesting things that opened our eyes to how Americans are truly thinking about spending their later years their third act if you will. The launch of the online survey was partly an effort to continue our research, but mostly a first step toward educating the public and encouraging them to make more informed decisions regarding their financial futures.

Lessons to be Learned From the Retired Generation

Unlike Generation X, Generation Y and Boomers who list uncovered medical expenses as their greatest concern, by a significant margin (on average over 20 percent), in their retirement, the Silent Generation is most worried about living longer than expected and outliving their funds.

This finding can be a tremendous learning opportunity for the other generations, said Gill. The fact that members of the Silent Generation, some already deep into their retirements, were the most concerned about outliving their funds may lead younger generations to pay closer attention to their savings and investing gearing up for retirement. Its a cautionary sign that we hope will encourage other generations to anticipate needing more money in retirement than they may have previously believed, or at least to rethink their financial requirements for retirement.

Rethinking Retirement Results Upheld

Results to date show a strong correlation with those from the original Rethinking Retirement study, with tallies falling within a few percentage points of each other. Respondents strongly believe financial management should be a standard part of high school curriculum. When pressed to rank the two most critical lessons in saving and investing for parents to teach their children outside of the classroom, all four generations of respondents rank Live within your means and Begin saving at an early age at the top.

When it comes to opinions on the requirement for being considered wealthy, participants from the Silent Generation have the highest average annual income requirement: nearly $600,000; Generation Y has the lowest requirement: $346,100.

Visitors to the site are asked to respond to 12 questions selected from the original Rethinking Retirement study. Questions elicit opinions on retirement regarding personal finance, financial education, the workplace, and lifestyle in retirement. A full list of questions can be found below.

Participants are greeted with the question, How much money do you think you need to retire? followed by What year were you born? Users are then presented with a graph and statistical summary of how their personal response compares to those of other members of their respective generation. As each question is completed, their response is compared to the total results collected in real-time. Users have the option of viewing the survey responses of all four generations as well.

At the conclusion of the study, participants are able to print out their full results. Additionally, they are provided with links to a variety of Schwab resources for retirement advice: help for individuals through Schwabs retirement consultants, help for employers through Schwabs Corporate and Retirement Services, and help for independent advisors through Schwabs Institutional Services.

Full Survey

Take part in the survey at

  • How much money do you think you need to retire?
  • What year were you born?
  • At what age would you like to retire?
  • How important is Social Security to you personally in having a financially secure retirement?
  • What is your ideal plan for how you would like to balance work and leisure in retirement?
  • What employer benefits would be most valuable to you to help with your retirement savings?
  • What would be the main reason why you would continue working in retirement?
  • Do you see retirement as a time to give back to your family and community or a time to focus primarily on your own needs and interests?
  • When you think about your financial security during retirement, what are you most worried about?
  • What are the most important lessons in saving and investing for parents to teach their children?
  • Do you believe financial management should be a standard part of the education curriculum in high school?
  • In your opinion, what annual income makes an individual wealthy?

For More Information

More information on the study is available at along with the self comparison tool ( and an ongoing series of cross-generational discussions on retirement. The comparison tool is also available for download if you would like to integrate content of the study to your Web site, blog or social network.

About the Study

Rethinking Retirement was initiated by Schwab in collaboration with Age Wave. All data collection and analysis was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive. A total of 3,866 interviews were conducted between March 28 and April 22, 2008. The sample is representative by age, gender, race, income, investable assets, education and region for each of the four generations studied. An oversample was conducted by generation among the major non-White ethnic groups (Hispanics, African Americans and Asians) to ensure adequate representation by ethnicity across all generations. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated: a full methodology is available.

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (Nasdaq:SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 7.3 million client brokerage accounts, 1.3 million corporate retirement plan participants, 367,000 banking accounts, and $1.4 trillion in client assets as of July 31, 2008. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Schwab Institutional division. Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC) provides banking and mortgage services and products. More information is available at

About Age Wave

Age Wave is the worlds leader in market analysis and innovative insights concerning the boomer and mature adult sectors. Drawing on thirty+ years experience, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of the populations expectations, attitudes, hopes and fears regarding retirement and maturity-related lifestyle and work style issues. Under the leadership of Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., Age Wave has overseen hundreds of cutting-edge research, training, and consulting assignments worldwide across a variety of industry sectors including financial services, healthcare, food and beverage, retail, travel, media, communications real estate and technology.

About Harris Interactive®

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by science and technology, Harris assists clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through their North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit

© 2008 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC (0808-4829)


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