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Thursday, May 24, 2012

WSJ Picks Up Putnam's Healthcare Take

News summary by MFWire's editors

Yesterday's press briefing held by Putnam's [profile] honchos gets some play in the Wall Street Journal. Putnam CEO Bob Reynolds and 401(k) chief Ed Murphy put the spotlight on healthcare costs yesterday to a room of reporters in New York City. The WSJ's Kelly Greene picked up the story for the paper.

She noted the takeaway that Americans who were less prepared on their retirement savings going into the past year are even worse off this year. Conversely, those who were more prepared are more aggressive in saving for retirement.

Merl Baker, principal of Brightwork Partners who conducted the survey told WSJ:

"It's a very striking, polarizing impact on the distribution."

Based on the proprietary Lifetime Income Score developed by Putnam, Americans with replaced income of 100 percent or more, have a 27.4 percent of retirement savings rate.

The least prepared households who could only replace less than 45 percent of their income had a 5.1 percent rate.

Data also showed the difference among those who had help from financial advisers and those who did not. Among the surveyed who had an adviser, they replaced 89 percent of their income which was pegged at 82 percent last year. Those who did not have adviser, who could replace 61 percent in 2011, went down to 58 percent this year. W. Van Harlow, research director at Putnam Institute, said:

"If you're not in excellent health, you don't need to save as much. The next generation of health tools really needs to recognize these mortality issues."

In relation to this, Putnam has come up with a tool to "fold medical costs in retirement into lifetime-income calculations" but "leaves out any calculation for long-term-care costs," writes Greene. 

Edited by: HFD


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