Some 50 percent of Baby Boomers ages 50 to 59, with anywhere from six to 15 years before retirement, indicated in a recent survey that they don't know how much money they'll need when they finally stop working.Furthering their financial dilemma, 60 percent of those polled said that they intend to save more than they do, but don't always get around to it.

The results are among a series of findings from a Guardian Life Insurance Co. survey titled "Leading-Edge Boomers: Rethinking Retirement & Exploring Annuities."

The study, which polled a total of 1,019 Boomers between the ages of 50 and 59 to understand their attitudes toward specific retirement/investment products, particularly variable annuities, and what motivates them to save and invest, was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Guardian.

The Guardian study found that among those leading-edge Boomers who are not retired, 69 percent expressed concern about outliving their financial resources, while 80 percent are worried about having adequate income during retirement. Some 15 percent of all leading-edge Boomers say that they don't have enough money to save or invest right now.

"Many Americans could be facing a retirement that is as long as the number of years they spent working," said Bruce Long, the president of Guardian Life & Annuity Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America. "Their longevity comes at a time when employment is more transient and pensions are being phased out. They cannot rely solely on employer-paid benefits and Social Security."

Guardian found that nearly half (48 percent) of the survey participants are unsure of the best choices for retirement savings, and 41 percent somewhat or strongly disagree that they are confident that their retirement savings and investments are sufficiently diversified.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of leading-edge Baby Boomers are concerned that stock market volatility will have a negative impact on their retirement income.

Annuity enigma

The Guardian study also found that most Boomers (86 percent) don't own annuities as a retirement vehicle, while 70 percent of those without an annuity say that they haven't considered buying an annuity.

The study also revealed differences among the genders. Guardian learned that women Boomers are more likely to see annuities as providing for them during retirement, while men -though they like the income that annuities provide - are more likely to see them more as a vehicle that will provide for their dependents.

Among annuity owners, both men and women like the guarantees that annuities offer, but when asked to rate the value of annuity characteristics, women rated both "steady stream of income" and "guarantees the principal" higher than men. On the other hand, men rated "death benefit" and "estate for heirs" slightly higher than women.

When asked about certain annuity product features, however, 71 percent of Boomers surveyed found the idea of a retirement vehicle that provides a steady stream of income once they retire very appealing.

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