Fidelity: Optimism helps retirement readiness
It would seem that a pessimist might be motivated to plan carefully for retirement. Nervous about the solvency of Social Security, and distrustful about the company pension plan - or lack thereof - the pessimist might seem inclined to live frugally and load up on the 401(k) and other savings accounts.
But according to new research from Fidelity Investments, that isn't necessarily the case - glass-half-empty types don't always make for good retirement planners.
A snapshot of the research was outlined in a press release from Fidelity, a Boston mutual fund company whose portfolio includes retirement savings products.
"The data show that investors with a more pessimistic outlook are less likely than those with a more optimistic outlook to expect a comfortable lifestyle in retirement (61 percent of pessimists, 83 percent of optimists)," Fidelity said in a press release. "They are also more likely to be concerned about risks to their retirement income, such as Social Security benefits being reduced (45 percent of pessimists, 33 percent of optimists)."
Fair enough. Gloomy Gusses aren't upbeat about much of anything. So the fact they might expect their golden years would be less than golden hardly comes as a shock. But wouldn't all that glumness and funk translate into a personal call for action and induce a person to take charge of his or her own affairs?
That was an unexpected finding of the research, suggested Joan Bloom, executive vice president of Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Co.
In a statement, Bloom said: “Going into the study, we anticipated that individuals with a more pessimistic outlook may be motivated by their concerns to proactively plan for retirement We were surprised, however, to find the opposite – that pessimists’ concerns are not driving action that could help improve their financial situation and overall confidence levels.”
Fidelity said that its research was based on an analysis of the planning behaviors of more than 1,000 couples who participated in a Fidelity retirement study.