Pre-Retirees And Retirees Happy, Optimistic, New Study From The Hartford, MIT AgeLab Finds
Despite economic uncertainty, Age of Opportunity study reveals the retirement experience may be even better than expected for some
- 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
"We really wanted to take a holistic look at retirement," said
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
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
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
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
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
"The Hartford" is
The MIT AgeLab and GfK Roper are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The
The views expressed by Dr.
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