Friday, March 2, 2012

Where People Get Retirement Info

I wrote yesterday (at some length) about an AARP survey on what people know about social security benefits.  No need for me to repeat that info, just click on the link above if you're interested.  Some of the results are neat and include not only knowledge about retirement benefits, but perceived knowledge.

Instead, I want to briefly point to a media question in the survey that asks how people learn about social security benefits.  The results probably won't surprise you, but let's cover them nonetheless.

Sources of Information about Social Security Retirement Benefits
  1. The Social Security Administration.  No surprise there, with 53 percent naming it as a source. I've done this and I'm many years away from retirement.
  2. Friends or family.  Makes sense, especially if you have older friends or family who have gone through the process.  I would have not been surprised to see this #1.
  3. Newspaper articles.  Yes, this makes me happy, at least for a moment until I realize that while older Americans read papers and thus bumps this category to #3, that's going to change as years go on.  Sigh
  4. AARP.  Makes sense.  They're the retirement folks.
  5. Current or former employer.  Again, makes sense.
  6. Financial magazine or book.  I'm surprised this isn't higher, but then again, maybe not.
  7. Financial shows on television.  Yeah, can buy this one too.
  8. Professional financial advisor.  On this one I have mixed feelings.  I kinda expected it to be even lower.  How many people have a professional financial advisor?  Hell, I don't.
  9. Financial services firm.  This, I expected to be higher than the one above. 
  10. Current or former labor union.  This one will drop, as we all know, as unions lose membership over time.
  11. Public library.  Happy to see this, would like to see it higher.
  12. Class or seminar at a local college.  This one surprised me.  Now that I think about it, yeah, makes sense.  Just never thought about it before.
What's missing from above?  The Internet.  It's possible the Net falls into several of the categories.  For example, as a prof I belong to TIAA-CREF and they email me stuff or point to their web site for retirement info, so that counts as a financial firm but also as the medium (Internet).  Same is true for the SSA or even AARP.  So my guess is, use of the Net is being folded into the responses above.

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