An important new report by Deloitte seems to lend credence to this thought. According to the Deloitte report, Meeting the Retirement Challenge: New Approaches and Solutions for the Financial Services Industry, the biggest barrier in taking the right steps to prepare for a secure retirement is that "(w)hile retirement is a leading concern for a majority of the survey respondents, many cited difficulty balancing such long-term needs with other, often more immediate financial priorities." Communications from financial institutions often neglect to consider the individual's entire financial picture, complete with other priorities. Deloitte believes that taking a more holistic, integrated approach to retirement planning will be a key step in enabling more individuals to be better prepared for retirement. Retirement needs would be "addressed early in a customer's lifecycle, but in conjunction with other financial priorities."
The Deloitte survey found that 46% say they do not have enough disposable income to allocate to retirement savings. Additionally, while the survey did reveal that saving for retirement was generally the top or second-highest priority, competing financial priorities such as a mortgage, student loan, or other debt were the biggest obstacles to successful saving. In fact, for those with 15+ years to go until anticipated retirement, 55% considered competing financial priorities to be the biggest obstacle to not having a formal plan for retirement. Similarly, 45% of those with 5-15 years to go said the same thing.
The report looks at other factors as well, such as healthcare costs, lack of trust in financial institutions, and the belief that savings will be inadequate despite best efforts, but the finding that the big picture must indeed look at the complete financial picture of the individual is a critical missing piece of the retirement savings puzzle. Deloitte recommends that financial service providers take heed of this holistic approach: "It likely does little good to pitch retirement products alone to someone who is more concerned for the moment with mortgage or other debt issues."