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More Than Half of Americans Feel Financially 'Under-Protected'

One in Five Americans Report Feeling Severely Under-Protected, Tapping Into National Feelings of Financial Unpreparedness
New York Life Launches Personal Protection Index for Americans to Check Their Own Protection Level

NEW YORK, N.Y., NOVEMBER 30, 2011 – Americans are reporting concern about how financially protected their families are, according to a new survey of over 1,000 adults aged 30 and older conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. The survey was released today and sponsored by New York Life Insurance Company.

Thinking about any savings accounts, emergency funds, or life insurance coverage they may have, the majority, 53%, report that they are financially under-protected, with one in five (19%) believing they are severely under-protected. Just 46% describe their family as being protected when it comes to their finances, the survey revealed.

“The survey reinforces what our agents are hearing in their communities: Significant numbers of Americans are concerned that their financial resources are not adequate to meet both the challenges of today’s economy and their future obligations, whether that’s paying for their children’s educations or their own retirements,” said Mark Pfaff, executive vice president in charge of U.S. Life Insurance & Agency, New York Life. “This is where knowledgeable advisors can make an enormous difference by helping people plan ahead.”

Some interesting findings from the survey include:

  • Parents are less likely to feel that their family is protected than are adults without a child under 18 (36% vs. 51%).
  • Older adults – those 60 and up – are much more likely than adults ages 30-59 to feel that their family is financially protected (63% vs. 39%).
  • A large gap also emerges across income groups; those with a household income of $50,000 or more are more than twice as likely as those with a lower household income to feel that their family is protected financially (61% vs. 27%).
  • Others who are most likely to feel financially protected include college graduates (60%) and retirees (63%).

“At this time of year many Americans are watching professional football and may be referring to the New York Life Protection Index*, launched last year, to gauge their favorite team’s ability to protect their quarterback – often a key driver in the team’s ultimate success. At the same time, they may be asking themselves, how protected am I? Or how protected is my family? We are pleased to offer the Personal Protection Index, which will provide a good gauge of your own financial protection level,” added Pfaff.

The New York Life “Personal Protection Index” uses stated and industry-standard income replacement goals to estimate how much you might need for your retirement and survivors, as well as funds for unexpected needs. Once you input your current age, income and resources, you receive a Personal Protection Index number, which indicates – on a scale of 0 to 100 percent, with 100 being very protected and 0 being severely under-protected – how your family currently stands.

“We hope Americans will use the Personal Protection Index to get a general idea of how well they are financially protecting themselves, their family and their loved ones. And just like a quarterback, when you're well protected, everyone on your ‘team’ has an opportunity to win,” added Pfaff.

Survey Methodology

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted November 10-14, 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,011 adults aged 30 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 1,011 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of adults aged 30 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

*About New York Life Protection Index

The New York Life Protection Index is the authoritative measure of a team’s aptitude in pass protection. In today’s football, the ‘golden age’ of passing, a pro football team’s ability to protect the quarterback is a key attribute to winning games. The New York Life Protection Index is owned by New York Life Insurance Company, and was developed in 2010 by sports and entertainment agency STRATEGIC, along with STATS, LLC, a global sports statistics and information company. While the New York Life Protection Index is calculated using a proprietary formula, the fundamentals are comprised of the length of a team’s pass attempts combined with penalties by offensive lineman, sacks allowed and quarterback hurries and knockdowns. The New York Life Protection Index is updated weekly throughout the regular season.

About New York Life

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings currently awarded to any life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).** Headquartered in New York City, New York Life's family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments*** provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life's Web site at for more information.

*Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500, Ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune Magazine, May 5, 2011. See for methodology.

**Source: Individual Third Party Ratings Report as of 8/23/11.

***New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.