New Research Study: $1 Million is Not Enough For The Average American Family To Retire

Survey of registered investment advisors (RIAs) commissioned by Scottrade Advisor Services shows most RIAs believe Americans need to be saving more money for retirement – a lot more

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 22, 2010 —Ask average American families how much money they will need to save for retirement and you often receive answers at or around $1 million. The frequently–referenced $1 million goal is perceived by many Americans as a standard level of retirement savings for average families, but a new survey of registered investment advisors (RIAs) finds most RIAs do not agree.

According to the survey, more than two–thirds (71 percent) of RIAs do not believe $1 million is enough for the average American family to retire on. In fact, most RIAs believe families need to be saving double, and in some cases more than triple, this amount for retirement.

“While there are no definitive answers on how much money various generations will need to save for retirement, it is clear that the majority of RIAs feel the $1 million goal is not enough for most families,” said Craig Hogan, Scottrade director of customer intelligence, customer relationship management and reporting. “According to the majority of RIAs, younger generations, especially, need to set their retirement goals higher than other generations and start saving as early as possible. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the uncertain future of Social Security.”

The survey asked RIAs for their opinions about the current investment habits of Americans and how much money they felt was needed for typical families to save for retirement. Questions were broken down by generations to determine RIAs’ opinions on average investment goals, in today’s dollars, for varying ages.

Generation Y (ages 18 – 26):
The recommended goals are the greatest for Generation Y. More than three–quarters (77 percent) of advisors suggest a goal of at least $2 million, and more than 40 percent believe that Generation Y should be targeting more than $3 million in retirement funds.

Generation X (ages 27 – 42):
RIAs also suggest loftier goals for Generation X. About half of RIAs (46 percent) believe Generation X should at least double the $1 million goal and save between $2 and $3 million. Twenty–two percent suggest an even higher amount – a goal of more than $3 million.

Boomers (ages 43 – 64):
For Boomers, thirty–five percent of RIAs felt Boomers need between $2 million and $3 million to retire, and 13 percent believe Boomers need more than $3 million. Thirty percent recommend a retirement goal between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Seniors (ages 65+):
Seniors are the only generation that may come close to only needing $1 million for retirement. Forty–four percent of RIAs answered that $500,000 to $1.5 million is sufficient for average Seniors. Only 20 percent of RIAs believe Seniors need between $2 and $3 million.

“For many Americans, especially younger generations, retirement can seem like a long way away,” Hogan said. “By setting realistic goals early, they can work towards enjoying their retirement instead of working during it.”

Scottrade Advisor Services, a division of Scottrade, Inc., provides personalized business, trading and technology support to empower RIAs to help investors reach their savings goals. In addition to receiving online trading services and tools, Scottrade Advisor Services assists advisors with their business and trading needs by providing an individualized, dedicated Relationship Team to each advisor.

About The Scottrade 2009 Registered Investment Advisor Study
The 2009 Registered Investment Advisor Study commissioned by Scottrade Advisor Services polled 226 registered investment advisors in a proprietary online survey from August 12 through September 30, 2009. The national sample was selected from the Discovery database, and respondents were asked to confirm current employment as a Registered Investment Advisor in order to be eligible to participate. The margin of error was +/– 6.5 percent. The survey asked questions about a wide range of topics related to individual RIAs’ experiences over the past year in terms of client base changes and behaviors, changes to their business practices, and feelings toward proposed regulatory legislation.

About Scottrade Advisor Services
Scottrade Advisor Services is a division of Scottrade, Inc., dedicated to supporting the needs if independent registered investment advisors. Scottrade Advisors Services’ low commissions coupled with personalized customer service through dedicated relationship teams, makes Scottrade Advisor Services an exceptional value for advisors looking to grow their practices. With no advisor enrollment fee and no minimum asset requirement, Scottrade Advisor Services has the account management tools for advisor practices of any size. For more information, please visit

About Scottrade
As a leading online investing firm, Scottrade offers a full line of investment products, online trading services and market research tools to help investors take control of their financial future. Scottrade is dedicated to personalized customer service and value, providing customers the convenience of buying many stocks online at just $7 per trade and the support of the largest branch network among online investment firms, with more than 425 nationwide branch offices. Scottrade has also been named one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America for the past three consecutive years. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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Research Findings

Research Findings

Learn more about Scottrade’s yearly surveys to American investors to understand how they feel about investing, retirement and the economy.