Despite economic uncertainty, Age of Opportunity study reveals the
retirement experience may be even better than expected for some
HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Americans' trademark optimism is intact, at least in regard to
retirement, despite the economic turbulence that is reportedly forcing
many people to work longer and make do with less. In fact, many retirees
found only one downside: They wish they could have done it sooner.
That's according to a new survey from The
Hartford and MIT
The October 2011 Age
of Opportunity study, which measured the opinions and concerns
of Americans both in and approaching retirement, found that most
retirees are pleased with their life, and both pre-retirees and retirees
have a positive attitude about retirement overall:
Retirees are more likely to say "I am happier now that I am retired"
(77 percent) than those who have yet to retire are to say "I will be
happier after I retire" (64 percent).
Other than wishing they could retire earlier (35 percent of
pre-retirees), or could have retired earlier (42 percent of retirees),
many recent and soon-to-be retirees see few negatives about retiring.
Twenty-six percent of those nearing retirement said they feel
"hopeful" about retirement, while 27 percent of those who have
recently retired say they feel "peaceful."
Among those who did find something less than positive about the next
phase of their lives, dealing with medical or health issues was cited
most often (21 percent for both pre-retirees and retirees).
Among retirees, the more affluent are twice as likely as others to
cite giving up a fulfilling career as a negative to retirement.
The study, conducted by GfK Roper for The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab,
surveyed people who are within 10 years of retiring versus those who
have retired within the last 10 years, and attempted to answer the
question, "Does the reality of retirement match expectations?"
"We really wanted to take a holistic look at retirement," said David
Levenson, president of The Hartford's Wealth Management Division. "The
study found that despite economic pressures, most people are positive,
confident and very happy to be retired, although most wished they had
been better prepared financially."
Better to be Healthy
Most pre-retirees and retirees cite health or medical issues as the
thing they worry most about impacting their retirement. Health is
definitely top of mind. Other health-related findings include:
If they could change one aspect of retirement, retirees say they would
have saved more money or been better prepared financially (32
percent), but they also wish they'd paid more attention to the
importance of health issues (13 percent).
When asked how long they would like to live, most said "as long as I
am healthy" (80 percent of pre-retirees, 75 percent of retirees). In
contrast, just 3 percent of pre-retirees and 4 percent of retirees
said they would prefer to live as long as their money lasts.
Retirement-age Americans see themselves living a very long time. Many
expect to make it into their 90s (29 percent of pre-retirees, 35
percent of retirees).
Although many retirees (48 percent) and most pre-retirees (63 percent)
say their spouse is the person most likely to care for them if they
become chronically ill, few (11 percent of pre-retirees and 10 percent
of retirees) say their top concern is caring for a spouse or family
member impacting their retirement.
"Today's retiree is redefining what retirement is — and isn't — and the
Age of Opportunity Study suggests that people near retirement, or
recently retired, have optimistic yet realistic expectations," said
Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., founder and Director of the MIT AgeLab. "These
findings indicate that companies, organizations and families must
redefine how they engage this next-generation retiree to help them
envision and plan for the financial demands of longevity as well as all
the big and little things that make up a happy, healthy and longer life.
When it comes to planning, both pre-retirees and retirees said a
milestone birthday (19 percent of pre-retirees, 14 percent of retirees)
or the realization that they are within 10 years of retiring (15 percent
of pre-retirees, 11 percent of retirees) were the two most common
triggers for serious financial planning. It also seems that early
planning plays off: More affluent retirees — those with $250,000 or more
of investable assets — are twice as likely to say they began serious
financial planning when they got their first job.
The study also found that retirees and pre-retirees share values of what
makes for a comfortable lifestyle. Both groups say they would be willing
to give up some "extras" to help make ends meet in retirement, including
moving to a more modest home (14 percent of retirees and 21 percent of
pre-retirees), driving a less-expensive car (15 percent and 18 percent,
respectively), or shopping less (17 percent for both). They were less
willing to give up dining out, entertainment and recreational pursuits.
Those who are more affluent are even more likely to "trade down" a home
or car to preserve other aspects of their lifestyle.
What Makes Retirees Tick?
Americans' independent-mindedness also showed through as the survey
found that retirees say they followed their own path, and pre-retirees
hope to do the same. When asked what song they'd use to describe the
retirement they have, or the one they hope to have, both groups most
often chose (I Did It) "My Way."
For more information about The Hartford/MIT AgeLab Age of Opportunity
study, visit TheHartford.com/retirementstudy.
From Oct. 3-16, 2011, GfK Roper conducted a total of 1,964 telephone
interviews with adults 45 years and older using RDD (random digit
dialing). To qualify, respondents must have retired in the past 2-10
years ("retiree") or plan to retire in the next 2-10 years
("pre-retiree"). These groups were further divided based on their
household's total investable assets, with quotas for under $250,000 and
$250,000 or higher.
About The Hartford
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) is a leading
provider of insurance and wealth management services for millions of
consumers and businesses worldwide. The Hartford is consistently
recognized for its superior service and as one of the world's most
ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial
performance is available at www.thehartford.com.
Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheHartford.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford.
About MIT AgeLab
MIT AgeLab was created in 1999 to invent new ideas and creatively
translate technologies into practical solutions that improve people's
health and enable them to "do things" throughout the lifespan. Based
within MIT's School of Engineering's Engineering
Systems Division, the AgeLab has assembled a multi-disciplinary team
of researchers, business partners, universities, and the aging community
to design, develop and deploy innovations that touch nearly all aspects
of how we will live, work and play tomorrow. The Hartford is a founding
partner of the MIT AgeLab.
Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking
statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not
guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ
materially. Investors should consider the important risks and
uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important
risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our Quarterly Reports
on Form 10-Q, our 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings
we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no
obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.
"The Hartford" is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its
The MIT AgeLab and GfK Roper are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The
The views expressed by Dr. Joseph Coughlin are not necessarily those of
The Hartford and should not be construed as investment advice. They are
subject to change.
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David Potter, 860-843-8993
Annette Rogers, 214-379-3705
Source: The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
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