Minneapolis-St. Paul residents top retirement planners

Reuters Business News
Posted: Dec 09, 2010 11:18 AM
Minneapolis-St. Paul residents top retirement planners

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul are better prepared for retirement than those of any other major city in the United States, according to a new survey.

The poll ranked 30 U.S. cities according to how much money their citizens were setting aside for retirement and how confident they were about that stage of their lives.

Raleigh-Durham and Nashville came in second and third.

"People in those cities, more than the others, figured out how much they need and took the appropriate steps," said Craig Brimhall, vice president of retirement wealth at the financial services firm Ameriprise, which commissioned the survey.

He added that the most important similarity between cities high in the rankings was a willingness to consider retirement planning a financial priority.

Los Angeles, Indianapolis and Orlando were cities whose residents were least prepared for retirement.

Brimhall also noted that many of the cities at the top of the rankings did not feel the impact of the economic crisis as much as those at the bottom.

"If we look at what happened with the economy in cities in California, or Orlando, with their unemployment and housing issues, we see that the cities at the top didn't suffer as much as those at the bottom," he said.

In Minneapolis-St. Paul 83 percent of those surveyed said they had already set aside money for retirement and 48 percent said they were on track for retirement. Just under a third of people questioned said they were very confident about their financial future in retirement.

Residents of many of the bottom-ranked cities said they have more pressing financial concerns than retirement.

"The unemployment rates in the top cities were well below the national average. High unemployment rates have a substantial impact on people. Many are more focused on short-term financial goals," Brimhall explained.

In Los Angeles 36 percent of residents surveyed said they've experienced a career setback or were fired in the last 18 months, while 22 percent said they were currently unemployed and planned to return to work. Only 57 percent said they had set aside money for retirement.

Some cities, such as Washington D.C., showed a significant discrepancy between retirement preparation and confidence.

In Washington 80 percent of people said they have set aside money for retirement, second only to Minneapolis-St. Paul, but 40 percent expressed negative sentiments about retirement, the second lowest confidence level after Los Angeles.

"This may mean that most people are not planning on retiring there and plan on moving," Brimhall explained.

He suggested that people who have not yet begun planning for retirement do so as soon as possible.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Patricia Reaney)