July 25, 2012 / 12:49 PM / 5 years ago

Americans less fearful than most about retirement savings

NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) - A global survey has found that most people around the world are worried about their financial health after retirement, but that Americans are the least pessimistic.

Accenture, a global technology and consulting firm, found that about just 16 percent of respondents, are confident that their rate of retirement savings will be enough to cover their post-retirement needs.

The March survey included 8,112 respondents between 25 and 60 years old in 15 countries on four continents.

Accenture Life Insurance Services, a business service within Accenture's Financial Services operating group, funded the telephone survey. The group provides advice to more than 60 life insurance, annuity and pension clients worldwide.

The firm found that more than four out of five people, or 82 percent of respondents, were worried about their financial situation after retirement and that almost nine in 10 people, or 89 percent, believed it is important for them to start saving immediately.

By comparison, roughly one in five Americans, more than the global average of 16 percent, said they were confident about their rate of savings for retirement.

Americans were also more optimistic than most about their general post-retirement financial situation, with 70 percent of respondents saying they were worried compared to the global average of 82 percent.

"I think the U.S. may have been one of the first countries to feel like they've moved on from the financial crisis (of 2008), and some others are perhaps continually feeling more impacted," said Mark Halverson, a managing director in Accenture's Financial Services Group.

Others view Americans' optimism regarding retirement as a key behavioral problem that is increasing the risk of retirees outliving their savings, since they may be underestimating their life span.

"The new behavioral issue that's really starting to unfold is: people don't fear living too long, they fear dying too soon," said Mark Fortier, head of product and partner strategy at AllianceBernstein Defined Contribution Investments.

"We perversely see the positive outcome of not living a long time, which is a bittersweet irony of these surveys," Fortier added.

The 15 countries surveyed were: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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