The role of retirement funding mechanisms is changing according to the Wells-Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index.  Current retires continue to expect traditional retirement funding sources to be their major source of retirement income, while nonretirees plan to rely more heavily on personal investments.


The poll conducted the first week of February of investors, aged 18 and older, with more than $10,000 in investable assets.  Those in the survey that are already in retirement rely much more on traditional sources, work sponsored pension plans (49%) and Social Security (48%), than nonretirees.  With nonretirees, the confidence that Social Security will be a major source of retirement funding drops significantly to 28%.

Individual retirement investment accounts boost significantly with nonretirees.  The vast majority of these respondents, 74%, anticipate that specific retirement accounts, such as 401(k), IRA, and Keogh, will be their major source of retirement planning.  The number counting on a work-sponsored pension plan drops with this group to 39%.

For both subgroups, home equity ranks fourth as a majors source of income in retirement, with 32% of retirees and 36% of non-retirees planning on utilizing their home equity in retirement.  The natural follow-up question that is not addressed in this survey is how respondents intend to integrate their home equity into retirement planning.  Due to the multiple methods of accessing home equity: selling, downsizing, traditional forward loan, home equity line of credit, or reverse mortgage; this response is a little vague in nature.

However, ranking fourth out of nine options given in asking about retirement funding sources at least demonstrates that home equity is in the conversation about retirement planning, and growing more so with nonretirees as they look towards their needs in retirement.