The Most and Least Prepared for Retirement

The financial preparation for retirement has slipped among workers to its lowest level in three years. Here are the top five most prepared and top five least prepared metro areas in the U.S.

Workers in Washington, D.C. are the most unprepared for retirement, according to a survey of consumers in 30 metro areas by Ameriprise Financial.

The New Retirement Mindscape 2012 City Pulse index surveyed 10,000 consumers to gauge how workers are feeling about how they’ve prepared for retirement. An earlier report by BlackRock had revealed that workers had fallen behind the curve and that there is a $6.6 trillion gap between what people had saved and what they need to save.

The Ameriprise survey revealed that consumers in the Washington, D.C., metro area are the least prepared for their retirement while Hartford-New Haven ranked as best prepared.

Overall, financial preparation has slipped to its lowest level in three years, according to Ameriprise. Only 70% of respondents said they are making financial preparations down from 75% in 2011.

Despite being less prepared, workers are thinking about how they’ll spend their retired lives. Three-quarters have planned for at least one activity and more than half (53%) have given a lot of through to how they’ll remain healthy.

The preparedness of these metro areas is by no means stable. Number three Minneapolis-St. Paul rebounded from 18 in 2011 after falling from first in 2010. Raleigh-Durham had been second in 2010, then fell to 19 and is now sixth.

The bottom three metro areas aren’t as bad off as it may seem. According to Ameriprise, they scored close to the national average regarding financial preparation; however, residents of the bottom three metro areas reported a significant lack of confidence in their abilities to reach their retirement goals.

“While it is encouraging to see Americans’ confidence in achieving their financial goals begin to rebound, the decline in preparation is a significant concern,” according to the report. “With further changes to entitlement and workplace programs looming, the responsibility for establishing a secure retirement may fall even more directly on consumers.”

Top 5

1. Hartford-New Haven

Hartford, Conn.

2011 rank: 6

2010 rank: 7

2. San Diego

2011 rank: 3

2010 rank: 6

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul

2011 rank: 18

2010 rank: 1

4. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

2011 rank: 1

2010 rank: 12

5. Philadelphia

Independence Hall

2011 rank: 10

2010 rank: 22

Bottom 5

30. Washington, D.C.

2011 rank: 25

2010 rank: 23

29. Charlotte

2011 rank: 22

2010 rank: 27

28. Indianapolis

2011 rank: 30

2010 rank: 29

27. Chicago

2011 rank: 11

2010 rank: 13

26. New York

Times Square

2011 rank: 29

2010 rank: 26