Orange County Business Journal

Merrill Edge: About Half in OC Put Off Retirement

Jane Yu Monday, May 13, 2013

Many Orange County residents are deferring retirement as they put an emphasis on building their nest eggs, according to a survey conducted by Merrill Edge, part of Bank of America's consumer bank.

Merrill Edge provides an online self-directed investing platform, along with other financial and educational resources.

The survey published Monday targeted OC’s “mass affluent,” defined by Merrill Edge as “those with $50,000 to $250,000 in investable assets per household.”

About 47% of survey respondents said they expect to retire later than they had projected a year earlier. Nearly 40% of respondents have less than $150,000 saved for retirement, according to the study. That compared with 54% of respondents nationwide.

Nearly half the OC respondents indicated they would make fewer luxury-item purchases between now and retirement.

About 69% said they have not turned to their long-term savings or investments to meet short-term financial needs.

Meanwhile, paying for their children’s college education might change that for some affluent parents in OC. About 18% of survey participants said they would cut back on retirement savings to pay for their children’s college expenses.

A smaller chunk—16%—said they have not, and will not, save for their children’s education.

More than 60% of survey respondents said they would not discourage their children from attending a specific school because of price alone.

OC residents’ top three concerns were healthcare costs, having retirement assets last through their lifetime, and the impact of the overall economy on their ability to meet personal financial goals.

The majority of Generation Y respondents—those between 18 and 34 years of age—said they are optimistic about their retirement, according to the Merrill Edge study. 72% of OC’s Gen Y respondents said they are on track to being able to maintain their desired lifestyle after retirement. About 50% of those between ages 35 and 50 indicated a similar outlook on retirement.