Retirement survey released by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company has revealed that eight in 10 working Americans say they've begun to prepare for retirement, starting on average at age 30.

The survey has also found major life events that triggered Americans to start saving for retirement. These included milestone birthdays – turning 40 and 50 – and having children. Other reasons that have prompted savings included marriage and advice from friends and relatives. However, Americans do not anticipate being able to retire until the age of 64, a full six years above their ideal retirement age.

Still, more than half of American workers polled anticipate working during retirement. Of those surveyed, 53% of middle-income workers and 50% of female retirees feel their retirement income will be insufficient.

The survey has also reported that the standard of living in retirement is not improving. The majority of working Americans about 85% feels their living standards will remain the same or decrease in retirement, and 81% of retirees report their living standards have remained the same or decreased.

The study has found that retirement income is lower. Seven in 10 American retirees report receiving lower income in retirement than their most recent salary. Americans are adverse to financial risk. According to the survey, majorities of both working and retired Americans say they would be most interested in financial products that potentially yield a minimum return without any financial risk.

Ken Gelman, vice president and director of market research for AXA Equitable, said: Overall, our survey findings suggest that Americans are beginning to wake up to the realities of retirement. Though most Americans are saving for retirement, they are saving less each month than in the past two previous years. They are also expressing concern about their retirement income and standard of living. They realize they have to work longer and prepare earlier to achieve their goals.