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Americans Urged to Spend More Time on Financial Planning

26 October 2011

New York, NY - Many Americans risk facing a cash-strapped retirement as they fail to commit enough time to discussing their long-term financial goals with a qualified financial advisor. A major international report reveals that around four in ten (38%) of U.S. respondents surveyed said they would prefer to spend just half an hour seeking professional financial advice on their immediate rather than future needs.1

The global report from HSBC, The Future of Retirement: The power of planning, explores changing attitudes towards retirement and financial planning in 17 countries around the world. The research shows that most people aren't interested in extended meetings with their financial adviser: only around one in ten (13%) prefer longer meetings and just 17 per cent would like more than one appointment to review their goals and financial plan.

Over a quarter (29%) of people in the U.S. turn to official websites when looking for information on financial products, possibly because this can be done in their own time. Commenting on the findings, Patrick Cozza, Regional Head of Insurance, HSBC North America, said: "It's surprising that people aren't willing to invest more than 30 minutes in taking professional advice to prepare for the rest of their lives. We would encourage people to start doing something without delay, no matter how small and it's important that people also set aside enough time for quality, expert advice."

The report from HSBC shows that younger groups in America are most likely to cite lack of time as a reason for not having a financial plan, with 12 per cent of those in their 30s saying they don't have time to seek advice.

The Future of Retirement is a world-leading study into global retirement and aging issues which helps HSBC better understand the trends and consequences of ageing and retirement.

This year's report also offers readers five practical steps for building a financial plan:

  1. Establish some clear goals, both short term and long term
  2. Benchmark yourself against your goals
  3. Develop a comprehensive financial plan, ideally with expert advice
  4. Implement the plan
  5. Keep your plan under review, especially after important life events

HSBC has found firm evidence in the survey of a 'planning premium' among respondents. Americans who have a financial plan have 2.2 times more than the U.S. average in their pension pot while non-planners have less than half (41%).

Those Americans with plans have accumulated on average $127,000 in their savings and investments for retirement, compared to the average US household of $56,000. Non-planners have around $23,000. In addition to the financial premium, those who plan enjoy an emotional one too, being more likely to associate retirement with freedom, excitement and hope. Strikingly, almost half (44%) of non-planners link retirement to financial hardship, while this is a concern for less than quarter of planners (19%).

Note to editors:

The Future of Retirement: The power of planning

HSBC's The Future of Retirement programme is a world-leading independent study into global retirement trends. It provides authoritative insights into the key issues associated with ageing populations and increasing life expectancy around the world. The 2011 report, The power of planning, is the sixth in the series and is based on interviews with more than 17,000 people in 17 countries. Since The Future of Retirement programme began in 2005, more than 110,000 people worldwide have been surveyed.

The countries surveyed for 'The power of planning' were: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, UK, and the US. The report surveyed 17,849 people of working age (mostly between 30 and 60 years) in 17 countries. The research was conducted online in December 2010 and some survey data was selected on the basis of both a household and individual basis.

The Future of Retirement programme has positioned HSBC at the forefront of retirement thought leadership, and has raised awareness of HSBC as a leader in the growing retirement services market. The report findings help HSBC to understand and meet the needs of its 95 million customers worldwide.

For further information on this and previous reports, visit

The HSBC Group

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,598bn at 31 March 2011, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.

HSBC Bank USA, National Association, with total assets of $195.1 billion as of 30 June 2011 (US GAAP), serves around 4 million customers through its personal financial services, commercial banking, private banking, asset management, and global banking and markets segments. It operates more than 470 bank branches throughout the United States. There are over 370 in New York state as well as branches in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, California, Delaware, Illinois, Oregon and Washington State. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is the principal subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., one of the nation's largest bank holding companies by assets. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a member of the FDIC.

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1 In response to the question: 'Which of the following statements best describes how you would prefer to receive professional financial advice?' Some 38 per cent of U.S. respondents answered: A medium appointment (30 minutes) to help me find a solution for my immediate needs.

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