Retirement Readiness and Active Aging

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Retirement Readiness and Active Aging

Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2013 questioned 12,000 employees and retirees in 12 countries on pension preparedness and phased retirement.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Retirement systems around the world are currently experiencing an unprecedented period of transformation as governments and employers attempt to address a number of challenges, including aging populations, longer life expectancies, lower fertility rates, and financial and investment risks. This change is driven by the desire to rebalance risks and responsibilities between governments, employers, and employees. For governments, the need to ensure sustainable retirement systems involves difficult decisions on reducing benefits and/or raising taxes and/or the statutory retirement age. Employers are also making difficult decisions in response to the risk and cost of providing retirement benefits, transitioning away from traditional defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans. As a result, the risks and costs of funding retirement have shifted toward individuals and families. Phased retirement is one of the solutions for retirement readiness. The objectives of the survey are: 1. Provide a clear picture of retirement readiness and phased retirement, 2. Promote awareness of personal responsibility for retirement, 3. Make recommendations for individuals, employers and public policymakers to increase levels of retirement readiness and enable phased retirement.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The 2013 survey reveals the current state of retirement un-readiness and phased retirement, examines risks from the employee perspective, and offers recommendations toward addressing those risks based on the more balanced roles of government, employers, and individuals. Despite the fact that nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees believe that future generations will be worse off in retirement than current retirees, it is possible to mitigate the retirement risk being placed on individuals through a combination of changes in public policy and employer practices, innovative products and education to guide and support individuals to take personal responsibility for their retirement savings. An obvious and practical solution for bridging a savings gap is to work longer (phased retirement). The majority of employees (62%) expect to work longer due to the global financial crisis, with the response highest in the Netherlands and France (68%). Yet this solution is not straightforward and may be unrealistic for many. Of the retirees surveyed, nearly half (49%) retired sooner than expected. Among them, the majority retired early for negative reasons, such as health issues (42%) or job loss (23%). Only 7% retired sooner because they had saved enough. Delaying retirement in order to save more for retirement (if possible at all) would appear to be a high risk strategy. Although the majority (57%) of current retirees continued to work in their full capacity until they retired, this survey shows that many current employees (43%) would like to transition gradually into retirement by changing work patterns (for example by working part-time, or with less demanding responsibilities). It is unclear, however, whether employers are willing to accommodate such a transition into retirement. Only 21% of employees indicate their employer offers the option to move from full-time to part-time work. And, only 15% indicated their employers would offer more suitable, less demanding work. Finally, only 15% stated that their employer offers flexible arrangements to work beyond the normal retirement age. Public policy incentives for employers to provide an accommodating environment for employees transitioning into retirement is essential to enabling greater personal responsibility for and control over retirement.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Aegon Retirement Readiness Index was developed to assess the relative levels of readiness across all countries included in the study. The purpose of the ARRI is to measure and track whether employees’ expectations of retirement are likely to be fulfilled based on current attitudes and behaviors. Index scores were calculated based on a sample of 10,800 employees in 12 countries who were asked a series of questions relating to planning and saving for retirement. The Index forms a composite measure of how well an individual perceives the adequacy of their own finances and financial awareness specifically for addressing their retirement needs. The analysis consisted of looking for patterns across the responses of six key questions, three questions covering attitudes and three covering behaviors:- 1. Personal responsibility for income in retirement 2. Level of awareness of need to plan for retirement 3. Understanding of financial matters regarding retirement 4. Retirement planning the stage of development of plans 5. Financial Preparedness for retirement 6. Income replacement assessing the level of projected income replacement.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other research on ageing and retirement is conducted by: Aviva: Mind the gap – Quantifying Europe’s pension gap (Europe) Scottish Widows: The Scottish Widows Pensions Index (UK only) Prudential: Global Aging Preparedness Index (20 countries around the world) HSBC: The Future of Retirement (15 - merely emerging - countries around the world)
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


Implementer(s) and cooperation partners



Private company

Country where main implementer is located

, ZH

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

Aegon provides solutions in life insurance, pensions and asset management. With businesses in over 20 markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia, we employ around 24,000 people and serve millions of customers across the globe.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Cooperation partner

Cicero Research


Non-university research body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Cicero Research provides thought leadership and independent market research. Cicero has designed the questionnaire, has done the fieldwork (together with Toluna), has analysed the results and has written the report in collaboration with Aegon and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Cooperation partner

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® is a nonprofit, private foundation dedicated to educating the public on emerging trends surrounding retirement security in the US. Based on its 14 years of experience in research on retirement, the Center has assisted Aegon in this global project.

Cooperation partner

Tsinghua University, China



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

To give a detailed interpretation of the survey results in China, the Tsinghua University initiated a follow-up research by questioning 1,000 respondents in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Wuxi (samples size per city 200).

Cooperation partner

Please select

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?
Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:

Retirement readiness and phased retirement.

Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

With about 25 pension and research experts in participating countries, the research agency Cicero and the Transamerica for Retirement Studies we defined the 'problem' regarding retirement readiness and phased retirement, developed the questionnaire in October-November 2012, conducted the field work in January 2013, and analysed the results in February-April 2013.

Together with media experts in participating countries, the survey was launched on 14 May 2013. So far, more than 650 publications in national and international media have been published. In particular in China the survey generated a lot of media attention with more than 350 publications.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

We have discussed the key findings at several events such as a webinar on 14 May, a 'radio day' in Spain and the UK, the IBIS Academy 2013 in Prague on 13-17 May 2013, and the EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing in Dublin on 13 and 14 June 2013.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for 1‐5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

1. Widespread retirement illiteracy worsens retirement readiness.
Only 20% of respondents say they are 'very able' to understand financial matters related to retirement planning and only 9% considered their personal retirement planning process to be 'very well developed'. Employers can play a greater role in offering retirement preparation services to their employees.

2. Delaying retirement offers an obvious solution, but obstacles remain.
The majority of today’s employees envision a transition into retirement that involves working – either changing work patterns, such as moving to part-time or less demanding work, or continuing to work. Yet this practical solution may not be realistic for many. Nearly half of the retirees retired sooner than expected and the majority did so for negative reasons such health issues or job loss.
Delaying retirement is a terrific way to generate income. However, few employers have yet made provisions to accommodate this vision by offering flexible arrangements to work beyond the normal retirement age. Public policy and incentives for employers to provide more options for older employees can help ease their transition into retirement.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees

30 (pension, research and media experts in participating countries)

External advisers and experts

3 (Cicero Research)

Others (please specify)

2 (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Pension, research and media experts.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

Bas Knol is the project manager. He reports to Aegon's Global Head of Sustainability, Marc van Weede, who is the sponsor of the project. The research and pension experts in participating countries and the agency Cicery meet every week by conference call. The members of the media team meet every one or two months by conference call.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.


National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies

90% (Aegon)

Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Individuals (in particular employees) and households, employers and public policy makers.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

The total circulation for print media was 4.3 mln excl China. The total reach for online media (91%) and radio days is unknown.

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

China, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United States. Japan will follow later.

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

We have provided a clear picture of retirement readiness and phased retirement in 12 countries. In addition, we have promoted awareness of personal responsibility for retirement and made recommendations for individuals, employers and public policymakers to increase levels of retirement readiness and enable phased retirement. With more than 650 publications so far, we have reached millions of people.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Reirement readiness is a shared responsibility between individuals, employers and governments. Equipping individuals with the right toolkit to set retirement goals and make informed decisions on achieving these goals is critical. Retirement readiness is more than just saving and investing; it involves setting goals about lifestyle, income needs, and family support, as well as charting a clear path for achieving them. Employers can play a greater role in offering retirement preparation services to their employees. And governments can make pensions systems more sustainable.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

Improving retirement readiness and enabling delayed retirement will take years for most individuals. However, it all starts with creating awareness of retirement readiness. We believe that we have improved this awareness and contributed to the debate on ageing and retirement.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on quantitative methods (quantitative measurement of impact indicators).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Information on team members, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

More participating countries in Europe and Latin America.
In addition to employees and retirees, self-employed and unemployed.